Mental Health Problems Among Migrant Workers From Myanmar in Thailand

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Sirada Kesornsri, MNS
Mental health and Psychiatric nursing, Mahidol University, NakhonPathom, Thailand


Purpose: To examine the relationship among factors that influence mental health problems of migrant workers from Myanmar in Thailand. Design: A cross-sectional survey design with 445 migrant workers from 10 community migrant workers in Samut-Sakhon Province in Thailand. The survey was completed by a structured questionnaire and interviewed by bi-lingual Thai and Burmese language interviewers. The research instruments consisted of (1) a general demographic (2) ISEL-12 to measure perceptions of the availability of supports (3) the Acculturative Stress Scale (ASS) to measure sources and level of stress (4) PSS-10 to measure the degree to which situations in one’s life are appraised as stressful and (5) the HSCL-25 to assess anxiety and depressive symptoms. Results: The predominant group in gender was male (55.5%). Mean age was 31.24 and ranged from 18 to 59. Ninety percent were represented by 3 ethnic groups (Bamar, Mon, and Karen). More than two third of the samples were married (70.6%). Almost half of participants lived in Thailand with the length of first to five years (38.7%). Most of the subjects worked as factory workers (71.1%), and reported had enough income (53.9%). The findings presented that most of the subject in this study were healthy both physical health (71%) and mental health (88.1%). The perception of social support was very high and the levels of appraised situation as stressful were too low. The findings from this study confirmed a positive relationship between acculturative stress and mental health symptoms (anxiety and depressive symptoms; R2 = 0.56, p <0.01). Similarly, a positive relationship between perceived stress and mental health symptoms (R2 = 0.49, p <0.01). There were not supports for the relationship between social support and mental health symptoms. The result from the regression analysis suggested that participants in the sample may have experienced of anxiety and depressive symptoms attributed to their gender, types of work, language proficiency, perceived stress and acculturative stress. Implication for practice: Based of the research findings, most of the participants were healthy thus health promotion program will fit well. Results of the current study also indicated that ten percent of the participants presented mental health symptoms thus clinicians and mental health professionals should be aware on person who struggle with the mental health problems. Mental health professionals should provide needed psychoeducation such as mental health resources for those who struggle with the mental health problems, social workers, and community regarding subjects which they may be unfamiliar, misdirected, or is lacking knowledge about mental health problems.