Exploring the experiences of mental health among internal migrants in Nigeria

LABINJO, Temitope O. (2022). Exploring the experiences of mental health among internal migrants in Nigeria. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00450


Internal migration has been a long tradition in Nigeria. Culture is a significant aspect of internal migration in Nigeria as internal migrants move from one state to another. They, therefore, must adapt to a new culture, language, beliefs, and social identity. In addition, existing evidence showed that social, cultural, and economic factors were linked to a migrant’s status thereby impacting their mental health. Studies conducted in Nigeria identified the causation of mental disorders to supernatural causes and drug misuse with stigma towards people with mental disorders. This study identified and explored factors impacting the mental health of voluntary internal migrants in Nigeria. In addition, the study examined the perceptions, knowledge, and attitudes of Nigerian participants towards mental disorders. After a thorough search of existing literature on mental health in Nigeria, there were no studies exploring experiences of mental health among voluntary internal migrants in Nigeria. Therefore, a qualitative phenomenological study was conducted with nineteen voluntary internal migrant participants from Kaduna state, Federal Capital Territory (Abuja), and Lagos states in Nigeria. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken using the video conferencing platform Zoom©. The ‘silences’ theoretical framework was used as a guide in this study which explored the experiences of a marginalised and underresearched group of voluntary internal migrants in Nigeria. Five themes emerged from this study: ‘purpose of migration,’ ‘experience of migration,’ ‘coping strategies,’ ‘knowledge of mental health,’ and ‘impact of internal migration on mental health.’ The participants described the reasons for migrating as work, marriage, and wanting a better life. They described having accommodation issues, difficulties finding a job, language and cultural barriers, transportation problems, infrastructural challenges, and experienced challenges of lack of social support. In addition, they explained that insecurity challenges in the nation negatively affected them. These challenges resulted in significant stress, ultimately leading to poor mental health. Religion and perseverance helped them cope after relocating. Finally, there was an improvement in knowledge of mental health, but there were still high levels of stigma towards persons with mental disorders. This study contributes to existing knowledge by exploring the gaps in the body of knowledge regarding the experiences of voluntary internal migrants concerning mental health in Nigeria. In the long-term, this study will assist in creating further research to assist relevant stakeholders in providing more access and delivery of mental health services in Nigeria.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Ashmore, Russell [0000-0002-9456-7926]
Thesis advisor - Serrant, Laura [0000-0002-9382-9859]
Thesis advisor - Turner, James [0000-0002-8360-1420]
Additional Information: Director of studies: Dr. Russell Ashmore / Thesis supervisors: Prof. Laura Serrant and Dr. James Turner.
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00450
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2022 14:54
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2023 15:16
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/30479

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