Multicultural Issues in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Ireland
Fiona McNicholas and Norbert Skokauskas
Affiliation: Lucena Clinic, 59 Orwell Rd, Rathgar, Dublin , Ireland.
Objective: As have many nations in the West and North America, Ireland has become a multicultural nation after
being a fairly homogeneous one. The balance of migration has been inward, only stemmed by the recent financial crisis,
and this has changed its complexion culturally and in terms of mental health needs.
Method: We report on trends and data on the mental health needs of the growing population of children of immigrants in
Ireland and the implications for Irish child mental health services.
Results: Despite immigrant children making up 10% of the primary school-going population in Ireland, very little research
has been published on their mental health wellbeing. Challenges, both positive and negative, continue to confront many
families. As a group they are generally faring less well than native born Irish children in terms of overall quality of life,
school inclusion, and sense of acceptance. Access and uptake of mental health services is poor and may reflect lack of culturally
Conclusions: The management of immigration and integration will continue to be a challenge for the Irish State. Establishment
of cross cultural competency in mental health services and inclusion of migrant families in policy formation
would go a long way to understanding what services will best meet their needs.
Keywords: Multicultural issues, child mental health, Ireland
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