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Intercultural difficulties in primary mental health care with Turkish patients

Migrant patients, such as Turkish patients in the Netherlands, generally underutilize or drop out from mental health treatments. One of the main reasons is that mental health treatments are not congruent with Turkish patients' cultural and religious background, resulting in difficulties in practitioner-patient relationships. Such difficulties may arise because of different cultural and religious beliefs about mental health problems such as depression, but also because of differences between Dutch and Turkish healthcare systems and resulting (Turkish) perceptions of Dutch health care. Because the GP and POH-GGZ in primary care are the first point of contact for mental health patients, this project focuses on primary mental health care. This project thus aims to study difficulties in the relationship between Dutch GPs, POH-GGZ and Turkish patients, with the aim of improving intercultural health communication in this context.

The first part of this project has focused on difficulties with GPs by means of a focus group study, which has been published in Patient Education and Counseling. The focus of the second part of the project is on cultural beliefs about mental health problems and resulting problems in relationships with (primary) mental health professionals/POH-GGZ.


Yildiz, I., Rommes, E., & Das, E., 2022 (in press). “They don’t do anything” Contextual factors influencing Turkish-Dutch individuals’ perceptions of general practitioners and medical specialists in the Netherlands and Turkey. Patient Education and Counseling, doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2022.02.012

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