Purpose: There is a recent and growing migrant population in Northern Ireland. However, rigorous research is absent regarding access to mental health care by different migrant groups. In order to address this knowledge gap, this study aimed to identify the relative use of psychotropic medication between the largest first generation migrant groups in Northern Ireland and the majority population.
Methods: Census (2011) data was linked to psychotropic prescriptions for the entire enumerated population of Northern Ireland using data linkage methodology through the Administrative Data Research Centre Northern Ireland (ADRC-NI).
Results: Lower prescription dispensation for all psychotropic medication types, particularly antidepressants (OR = 0.35, CI 95% 0.33-0.36) and anxiolytics (OR = 0.42, CI 95% 0.40-0.44), was observed for all migrant groups with the exception of migrants from Germany.
Conclusions: It is likely that the results reflect poorer access to services and indicate a need to improve access and the match between resources, services and the health and social care needs of migrants. Further research is required to identify barriers to accessing primary care and mental health services.