Research Repository

Understandings and Experiences of Common Mental Health Difficulties of Turkish-Speaking People in the UK

Akan, Ayse (2021) Understandings and Experiences of Common Mental Health Difficulties of Turkish-Speaking People in the UK. Other thesis, University of Essex.

[img] Text
Restricted to Repository staff only until 19 April 2026.

Download (3MB) | Request a copy


Background: Some argue that Eastern languages are insufficient to provide the verbal resources to express emotional distress, resulting in emotional difficulties being expressed in bodily illnesses, including by Turkish-speakers. However, this comprehensive investigation of the literature through a systematic review contradicts this claim. This is the first study conducted in the UK with first-generation Turkish-speaking diaspora regarding their understandings and experiences of common mental health difficulties. The study was conducted by a native Turkish-speaking researcher. Aim: The aim of this study was to explore the understandings and experiences of common mental health difficulties of Turkish-speaking people in the UK. Methods: A qualitative research methodology was adopted and semi-structured interviews were conducted in Turkish with eighteen Turkish-speaking people who self-identified as having common mental health difficulties, either currently or in the past. People who had received talking therapies were excluded. Thematic analysis was used to interpret the data. Quotations were translated into English by the researcher. Results: Four themes with fourteen subthemes were generated covering the presentation of difficulties, the causes and sources of the difficulties, coping strategies and attitudes towards getting professional mental health help. Participants reported experiencing both emotional and physical symptoms. They linked their distress to their upbringing, traumatic events, situational circumstances, discriminatory encounters in the UK, interpersonal relationships and their own mistakes / inabilities. They reported many resources for coping and despite being open to the receiving mental health help, some had reservations about seeking it in the UK. Conclusions: In line with the literature, this study found that Turkish-speakers experienced and expressed their distress in both emotional and physical terms. Their understanding of distress was mainly psychosocial but contained elements of biological and traditional models drawing on a dynamic, multi-model understanding. It is important for researchers, clinicians and policy makers to move past stereotypical claims about Turkish-speaking immigrants and to provide meaningful and effective care for every and any community.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Uncontrolled Keywords: mental health, depression, anxiety, common mental health disorders, common mental health difficulties, models of mental health, explanatory models, biopsychosocial model, causal attributions, understanding, experience, somatisation, physical symptoms, psychological symptoms, emotional language, help-seeking, coping, culture, racism, Turkish, migrants, UK, systematic review, thematic synthesis, reflexive thematic analysis, qualitative research
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA790 Mental Health
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Health and Social Care, School of
Depositing User: Ayse Akan
Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2021 15:25
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2021 15:25

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item