Researchers, health-care professionals and policy-makers are increasingly recognising the challenge presented by the increasing ethnic diversity in the Nordic countries, among others the challenges and risks involved in the increasing partnerships formation across the ethnic borders to health systems. To help meet this challenge, this project has two objectives.
The first objective in the first phase is to gain insights about the dynamics of intermarriage in relation to mental health of the couples in the Nordic countries, though the pilot project is limited to Denmark. This exploratory project especially about the under researched dynamics of intermarriages and children of mixed parentage, who are almost invisible as a social category in the Danish context. However there are about 15.000 children and young people in Denmark, whose one parent is Asian, including South Asian diaspora and the other native Dane, who are focus of this pilot project. These couples and children face both possibilities and difficulties in relation to their identity, family and networks due to their “mixedness” in interplay with the broad society. Mental health is seen as the self-understandings and the social relationships of the research perticipants.
The second objective in the next phase is to improve the accessibility of and further develop psychosocial services available for intermarried couples experiencing mental health problems.
The theoretical framework of the project is interdisciplinary, combining transnationalism, narrative approach and life-course perspectives. Some statistical data will be collected and analysed to study the phenomenon of intermarriage in Denmark. The investigation through qualitative research interviews will involve a number of couples, primarily Asians currently / earlier married to native Danes. The focus will be on their experiences and concerns related to mental health, in which their children will have a central place. Correspondingly in the second phase, psychosocial services for professional intervention, for couples in intermarriages with mental health problems, will be explored, among other methods, through interviews with experts from these services.
There is already established cooperation across the national borders. The acting Director Dr. Arild Aambø and Claire Mock Munoz De Luna, a researcher at NAKMI (Nasjonal kompetanseenhet for minoritetshelse, Oslo) are in the process of developing a similar pilot project Marriage practices and health.