Many aspects related to migration might predispose immigrants to mental health problems. Yet immigrants have been shown to underuse mental health services. The aim of this study was to compare the intensity of psychiatric care, as an indicator of treatment adequacy, between natives and immigrants living in Finland.
We used nationwide register data that included all the immigrants living in Finland at the end of 2010 (n = 185,605) and their matched controls. Only those who had used mental health services were included in the analyses (n = 14,285). We used multinomial logistic regression to predict the categorized treatment intensity by immigrant status, region and country of origin, length of residence, and other background variables.
Immigrants used mental health services less than Finnish controls and with lower intensity. The length of residence in Finland increased the probability of higher treatment intensity. Immigrants from Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Northern Africa were at the highest risk of receiving low-intensity treatment.
Some immigrant groups seem to persistently receive less psychiatric treatment than Finnish-born controls. Identification of these groups is important and future research is needed to determine the mechanisms behind these patterns.