Immigrant children and mental health services

I remember sitting at a Doctor´s office at Grønland in Oslo. As I was sitting in prolonged waiting for my appointment, I started to think about culture. I was watching people of different nationalities approach the Hijab clad Pakistani secretary who opened her little window to say «Yes, how can I help you?». A large Somali woman would talk about her Doctor, saying it was important to see her, talking about her back pain and not seeming to accept the dry reply: «You´ll have to book an appointment. She is not available today. Can you come tomorrow at 9:45?». After some more lamentation and protests, the woman seemed to accept and with deception she slowly turned and went out.

Next in line, a Punjabi speaking woman all smiling, starting chatting in Punjabi with her fellow speaking secretary. Here the matter did not seem so urgent, or problematic. Yet there were evidently many formalities and polite adresses. After the secretary found her appointment on her computer, there was a little more friendly and cosy conversation wherupon the patient sat down to await her Doctor calling her. Lastly a middle aged man with beginning grey hair, probably from the Balkans somewhere, shortly announced he had an appointment at half past and sat down. The approaches may have been somewhat individual, yet I reasoned that cultural background shapes much of the attitudes towards health and Doctors.