Global Mental Health

The driving philosophy of global mental health is based on equity, with a focus on justice, fairness, cultural humility and awareness of structural factors that affect health in society.

Global Mental Health UNHRC Photo Credit

Suffering is a part of the human experience, but many suffer in unimaginable ways at the hands of fellow human beings. War, indeed, is the most serious threat to human health. What is lost in war? Our possessions, means, land, institutions, and schools; our loved ones, sense of security, and culture; our freedom, peace of mind, and dignity. For many, war also forces people to abandon their homeland in search of safety and a future. War destroys communities and families and disrupts the development of the social and economic fabric of nations. The result is poverty, the fragmentation of society, and suffering….  In summary, to assist refugees and other migrants, we must work together to help people in the community access culturally safe mental health services in the primary care setting. Empowerment of refugees fosters resilience. After all, despite the atrocities and assaults on human dignity inflicted by war, refugees reveal to us the human capacity to survive and thrive. (Kassam et al, IJERPH 2020)

Ukraine Invasion Yahoo Movies Canada Photo Credit


  • Kassam, A., Magwood, O., & Pottie, K. (2020). Fostering Refugee and Other Migrant Resilience through Empowerment, Pluralism, and Collaboration in Mental Health. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(24), 9557.

  • Legido-Quigley H, Pocock N, Teng Tan S, Pajin L, Suphanchaimat R, Wickramage K, McKee M, Pottie K. (2019). Health care is not universal if undocumented migrants are excluded. BMJ, 366(14160), 1-5.

  • Pottie, K., Gruner, D., & Magwood, O. (2018, March 15). Canada’s response to refugees at the primary health care level | PHRP. Https://Www.Phrp.Com.Au/.

Clinical Guidelines and Tools

  • Greenway C, Fabreau G, Pottie K. The war in Ukraine and refugee health care: considerations for health care providers in Canada. CMAJ, Jul 2022. 194 )26) E911-E915; DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.220675.

  • Arya, N., Redditt, V. J., Talavlikar, R., Holland, T., Brindamour, M., Wright, V., Saad, A., Beukeboom, C., Coakley, A., Rashid, M., & Pottie, K. (2021). Caring for refugees and newcomers in the post–COVID-19 era: Evidence review and guidance for FPs and health providers. Canadian Family Physician, 67(8), 575–581.

  • Pottie K. et al (2018). ECDC Evidence Based Guidance for Newly Arrived Migrants for Public Health for EU/EEC.

  • Pottie, K., Greenaway, C., Hassan, G., Hui, C., & Kirmayer, L. J. (2016). Caring for a newly arrived Syrian refugee family. CMAJ, 188(3), 207–211.

  • Pottie, K., Greenaway, C., Feightner, J., Welch, V., Swinkels, H., Rashid, M., Narasiah, L., Kirmayer, L. J., Ueffing, E., MacDonald, N. E., Hassan, G., McNally, M., Khan, K., Buhrmann, R., Dunn, S., Dominic, A., McCarthy, A. E., Gagnon, A. J., Rousseau, C., … Health, and coauthors of the Canadian Collaboration for Immigrant and Refugee Health (2011). Evidence-based clinical guidelines for immigrants and refugees. CMAJ, 183(12), E824–E925.

  • Kirmayer, L. J., Narasiah, L., Munoz, M., Rashid, M., Ryder, A. G., Guzder, J., Hassan, G., Rousseau, C., & Pottie, K. (2011). Common mental health problems in immigrants and refugees: General approach in primary care. CMAJ, 183(12), E959–E967.

Systematic, Scoping and Realist Reviews

  • PTSD paper here

  • Ratnayke, A., Sayfi, S., Veronis, L., Torres, S., Baek, S., & Pottie, K. (2022). Mental health promotion for refugees and other culturally and/or linguistically diverse migrant populations. IJERPH.   19(6), 3616;

  • Magwood, O., Kassam, A., Mavedatnia, D., Mendonca, O., Saad, A., Hasan, H., Madana, M., Ranger, D., Tan, Y., & Pottie, K. (2022). Mental Health Screening Approaches for Resettling Refugees and Asylum Seekers: A Scoping Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(6), 3549.

  • Kaur, H., Saad, A., Magwood, O., Alkhateeb, Q., Mathew, C., Khalaf, G., & Pottie, K. (2021). Understanding the health and housing experiences of refugees and other migrant populations experiencing homelessness or vulnerable housing: A systematic review using GRADE-CERQual. Cmaj OPEN.

  • Pottie, K., Kassam, A., & Gruner, D. (2021). Community-based mental health care and narrative exposure therapy. In Oxford Textbook of Migrant Psychiatry (pp. 305–310). Oxford University Press.

  • Ammar Saad, Olivia Magwood, Tim Aubry, Qasem Alkhateeb, Syeda Shanza Hashmi, Julie Hakim, Leanne Ford, Azaad Kassam, Peter Tugwell, Kevin Pottie. (2021) Mobile interventions targeting common mental disorders among pregnant and postpartum women: An equity-focused systematic review. PloS One 16 (10), e0259474 

  • Lu, J., Jamani, S., Benjamen, J., Agbata, E., Magwood, O., & Pottie, K. (2020). Global Mental Health and Services for Migrants in Primary Care Settings in High-Income Countries: A Scoping Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(22), 8627.

  • Pottie, K., Ratnayake, A., Ahmed, R., Veronis, L., & Alghazali, I. (2020). How refugee youth use social media: What does this mean for improving their health and welfare? Journal of Public Health Policy, 41(3), 268–278.

  • Gruner, D., Magwood, O., Bair, L. H., Duff, L., Adel, S., & Pottie, K. (2020). Understanding Supporting and Hindering Factors in Community-Based Psychotherapy for Refugees: A Realist-Informed Systematic Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

  • Sweileh WM, Wickramage K, Pottie K, Hui C, Roberts B, Sawalha AF, Zyoud SH. (2018, June). Bibliometric analysis of global migration health research in peer-reviewed literature (2000–2016). BMC Public Health, 18(777), 1-18.

  • Batista R, Pottie K, Bouchard L, Ng E, Tanuseputro P, Tugwell P. (2017). Primary Health Care Models Addressing Health Equity for Immigrants: A Systematic Scoping Review. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 1-17.

  • Beiser, M, Hilario C, Pottie K. (2016). Parenting. Caring for Kids New to Canada, Kids New to Canada Website. Canadian Paediatric Society.

  • Pottie K, Dahal G, Georgiades C, Premji K, Hassan G. (2015). Do First Generation Immigrant Adolescents Face Higher Rates of Bullying, Violence and Suicidal Behaviours Than Do Third Generation and Native Born?. Journal of Immigrant Minority Health, 17(5), 1557-1566.

Medical Education and Delphi Consensus Papers

  • Gruner, D., Feinberg, Y., Venables, M. J., Hashmi, S. S., Saad, A., Archibald, D., & Pottie, K. (2022). An Undergraduate Medical Education Framework for Refugee and Migrant Health: Curriculum Development and Conceptual Approaches [Preprint]. BMC Medical Education. In Review.

  • Merritt, K., & Pottie, K. (2020). Caring for refugees and asylum seekers in Canada: Early experiences and comprehensive global health training for medical students. Canadian Medical Education Journal, 11(6), e138–e140.

  • Pottie K, Hui, C, Rhaman P, Ingleby D, Akl EA, Russell G, Ling L, Wickramage K, Mosca D, Brindis CD. (2017). Building Responsive Health Systems to Help Communities Affected by Migration: An International Delphi Consensus. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, 14(2), 144.

  • Gruner, D., Pottie, K., Archibald, D., Allison, J., Sabourin, V., Belcaid, I., McCarthy, A., Brindamour, M., Augustincic Polec, L., & Duke, P. (2015). Introducing global health into the undergraduate medical school curriculum using an e-learning program: A mixed method pilot study. BMC Medical Education, 15(1), 142.

  • Mota L, Mayhew M, Grant K, Batista R, Pottie K. (2015). Rejecting and accepting international migrant patients into primary care practices - a mixed method study. Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, 11(2), 108-129.

  • Pottie K, Batista B, Mayhew M, Mota L, Grank K. (2014). Improving delivery of primary care for vulnerable migrants - Delphi consensus to prioritize innovative practice strategies. Canadian Family Physician, 60(1), e32-40.

  • Gurdeeshpal R, Ferreyra M, Ahmed R, Ezzat O, Pottie K. (2013). Are you using Machine translation in your practice?. Can Fam Physician, 59(4), 382-383.

  • Helena Swinkels, Kevin Pottie, Peter Tugwell, Meb Rashid and Lavanya Narasiah. Development of guidelines for recently arrived immigrants and refugees to Canada: Delphi consensus on selecting preventable and treatable conditions CMAJ September 06, 2011 183 (12) E928-E932;

Other Related Research

  • Benjamen, J., Girard, V., Jamani, S., Magwood, O., Holland, T., Sharfuddin, N., & Pottie, K. (2021). Access to Refugee and Migrant Mental Health Care Services during the First Six Months of the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Canadian Refugee Clinician Survey. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(10), 5266.

  • Glover, R. E., Schalkwyk, M. C. I. van, Akl, E. A., Kristjannson, E., Lotfi, T., Petkovic, J., Petticrew, M. P., Pottie, K., Tugwell, P., & Welch, V. (2020). A framework for identifying and mitigating the equity harms of COVID-19 policy interventions. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 128, 35–48.

  • Batista R, Pottie K, Dahrouge S, Manuel D, Tanuseputro P, Mark AE, Ng E. (2019). Impact of health care reform on enrolment of immigrants in primary care in Ontario, Canada. Family Practice, 36(4), 445–451. doi:10.1093/fampra/cmy082

  • Pottie, K., Welch, V., Morton, R., Akl, E. A., Eslava-Schmalbach, J. H., Katikireddi, V., Singh, J., Moja, L., Lang, E., Magrini, N., Thabane, L., Stanev, R., Matovinovic, E., Snellman, A., Briel, M., Shea, B., Tugwell, P., Schunemann, H., Guyatt, G., & Alonso-Coello, P. (2017). GRADE equity guidelines 4: Considering health equity in GRADE guideline development: evidence to decision process. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 90, 84–91.

  • Miramontes L, Pottie K, Benkhalti Jandu M, Welch V, Miller K, James M, Hatcher Roberts J. (2015). Including migrant populations in health impact assessments. Perspectives: Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 93(12), 888-889.

  • Ng, E., Pottie, K., & Spitzer, D. (2011). Official language proficiency and self-reported health among immigrants to Canada. Health Reports, 22(4), 15–23.

  • Tugwell, P., Pottie, K., Welch, V., Ueffing, E., Chambers, A., Feightner, J., & Canadian Collaboration for Immigrant and Refugee Health (CCIRH). (2011). Evaluation of evidence-based literature and formulation of recommendations for the clinical preventive guidelines for immigrants and refugees in Canada. CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal = Journal de l’Association Medicale Canadienne, 183(12), E933-938.


Stepped Care Refugees Asylum Seekers Protocol.

Scoping Review Protocol on Public's perception of COVID-19 information and recommendations.

Mental health screening approaches for refugees and asylum seekers: Implications for resettlement and primary care

Description: Refugees and asylum seekers experience disproportionate rates of common mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Providing early care for treatable and common mental health conditions can help refugees integrate into society. 

Protocol 1.1Mental health screening approaches for refugees and asylum seekers: A protocol for a scoping review

  • The objective of this scoping review is to map and characterize mental health screening approaches for refugees and asylum seekers. This review aims to inform country-level resettlement policies and practices regarding identification of mental health conditions and linkage to care
  • Read our scoping review protocol here. Published online 03 March, 2021
  • Contact: Olivia Magwood 

Poster presentationClick here to see our poster at the 2021 What Works Global Summit [18-27 October, 2021], presented by Yvonne Tan (Queen's University, Canada).

Protocol 1.2: Diagnostic test accuracy of screening tools for post-traumatic stress disorder among refugees and asylum seekers: A protocol for a systematic review of diagnostic test accuracy studies

 Mobile technology assisted interventions targeting mental health among pregnant and post-partum women: A protocol for an equity focused systematic review. 

Description: Pregnant women undergo major physiological and psychological imbalances during pregnancy that increases their likelihood of developing common mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The aim of this systematic review is to synthesize and appraise available evidence on the effectiveness and health equity impact of mobile technology-assisted mental health interventions on the severity of common mental health disorder symptoms, psychological wellbeing and distress, occurrence of common mental health disorders, and utilization of mental health care among pregnant women.

Examining the health equity implications of rapidly emerging COVID-19 visitation strategies to long-term care homes in Ontario: A protocol for a mixed-methods study

Description: The purpose of this project is to advance our understanding of emerging COVID-19 visitation strategies in Ontario by examining their health equity implications among key stakeholder groups such as residents, their family members, and providers of care. Our timely findings will shed light on the impact of emerging COVID-19 visitation strategies and inform knowledge users, such as policy makers, about their health equity implications to promote an equity-oriented decision making process in the future.