IOM Tajikistan jointly with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Population of Tajikistan conducted a research on the mental health of migrants in Tajikistan.  The research has reportedly found a gap in mental health services for returning migrants.

According to IOM Tajikistan, the research sets out to identify problems Tajik migrant workers face when seeking psychological care and looks at commonly-reported symptoms that could indicate mental distress.  These often manifest through a wide range of symptoms, leaving possible mental health problems undetected.

“The results, particularly somatic, affective, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms can be used by health care providers for their assessment and early diagnose of common mental health disorders.” says IOM Research Consultant, Dr. Natalia Zotova

Deputy Minister of Health and Social Protection of the Population, Dr. Shodikhon Jamshed noted “labor migration brings multiple benefits to migrants and their families, and contributes to positive macroeconomic, developmental, and demographic outcomes of sending and receiving countries. Despite its positive impact, the experience of living and working abroad entails numerous challenges that can have a negative impact on migrants’ physical and mental health.”

The research was conducted as part of the project, Returned Tajik Migrants: Promoting A Multi-Stakeholder Response to Mental Health and Disability Issues, and was supported by IOM’s Development Fund.

The report entitled “Mental Health Problems of Tajik Returned Labor Migrants and Their Experiences Seeking Mental Health Care and Psychosocial Support”, in particular, notes that each year, about half a million of Tajikistan’s citizens leave the country for employment abroad, and 400,000 people return home after living and working in other countries.  International migration reportedly brings multiple benefits for Tajik migrants and their families, but it is also a challenging experience that can affect the mental health of migrants.

This interdisciplinary study examines different-level factors that affect the mental health of Tajik returned migrants and discusses an elevated level of stress associated with migration-related challenges.  This study also analyses existing policies, as well as health-care and social protection services for migrants with mental health issues.  This report discusses identified gaps in policies and services for labor migrants who experience mental health issues in countries of destination and returnees in Tajikistan, barriers to access services, and the need for a better integration of primary care and mental health care in Tajikistan.  The report includes specific recommendations in relation to these issues.