Mental Health

  1. A Family Beliefs Framework for Socially and Culturally Specific Preventive Interventions With Refugee Youths and Families. Ying, Yu-Wen , Han, Meekyung 9 page s . 2006. English .

    This article presents data used to design a family-focused preventative intervention model for use exclusively within the social and cultural framework of refugee youth and families. This study followed members of the Bosnian refugee community in Chicago using the Coffee and Family Education and Support (CAFES) group intervention program to address parental concerns of youth underachievement and family conflict. The seven-week program covered topics such as: family and youth priorities; the adolescent in the urban setting; school life; city life; family values and beliefs; and celebration of the future. 

  2. Addressing the Mental Health Problems of Border and Immigrant Youth. Flores, Luis,Kaplan, Arline 21 page s . January 2009. English .

    This report describes the life and challenges of these youth and makes recommendations to service providers on how to improve the mental health of these clients.

  3. Amidst Peril and Pain. Mead, Alice 390 page s . July 1998. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    Compiles multidisciplinary articles tracing the issue of mental health for refugees from historical foundations through specific regional challenges and adjustment patterns, and offers research recommendations and future policy goals.  Four chapters detail the historical, conceptual, and policy issues associated with refugee mental health.

  4. Annotated Bibliography on Refugee Mental Health. Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) 324 page s . 1986. English .

    This annotated bibliography contains primarily materials in published scientific literature on refugee mental health. References have been grouped into four major sections. Section 1, Understanding Refugees in Context, Section 2, Specific Mental Health Issues and Refugees, Section 3, Concerns of Selected Subgroups of Refugees, Section 4, Other Bibliographies on Refugees and Related Topics. A user's guide to the bibliography is included, along with three indices, organized by refugee/ethic group, author, and subject.

  5. Belonging and Connection to School in Resettlement: Young Refugees, School Belonging, and Psychosocial Adjustment. Kia-Keating, Maryam , Ellis, B. Heidi 29-43 page s . 2007. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    This study examines school belonging and psychosocial adjustment among a sample of 76 Somali adolescents resettled in the United States. A greater sense of school belonging was associated with lower depression and higher self-efficacy, regardless of the level of past exposure to adversities. Notably, more than one-quarter of the variation in self-efficacy was explained uniquely by a sense of school belonging. School belonging was not significantly associated with posttraumatic stress symptom severity and did not moderate the effect of exposure to adversities on psychological adjustment. These results suggest that investigating ways of improving school experiences would be particularly useful in the effort towards continued development of school-based mental health programs for young refugees.(Description from source)

  6. Children of War - A Video for Educators. National Child Traumatic Stress Network Refugee Trauma Task Force Children of War Production Committee page s . 2005. English .

    In this video, refugee youth tell their own stories about the experience of war. It is recommended for educators and others who work with immigrant and refugee youth and children. Because the stories are deeply moving, the video is not recommended for students younger than high school age, and any presentation to youth should be handled with sensitivity and made only after the video has been previewed. The resource guide will help educators teaching students of all ages understand the experience of refugee youth and children. It is best used in a group setting. The guide includes discussion questions for educators, suggests ways teachers and schools can help refugee students, and describes the traumatic stress than can result from wartime experiences and resettlement in a new culture.

  7. Comparative Case Study of Caring Across Communities: Identifying Essential Components of Comprehensive School-Linked Mental Health Services for Refugee and Immigrant Children. McNeely, Clea , Sprecher, Katharine , Bates, Denise 44 page s . May 2010. English .

    This report is an evaluation of the three-year Caring across Communities grant program and explores the challenges experienced by the children and families the CAC programs served; the necessary components of comprehensive mental health services for refugee and immigrant children; and how partnerships between schools and multiple community agencies can work collaboratively to implement the necessary components of comprehensive mental health services.

  8. Coping With Trauma and Hardship Among Unaccompanied Refugee Youths From Sudan. Goodman, Janice H. 1177-1196 page s . November 2004. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    The purpose of this study was to explore how unaccompanied refugee youths from Sudan, who grew up amid violence and loss, coped with trauma and hardship in their lives. The author used a case-centered, comparative, narrative approach to analyze the narratives of 4 male unaccompanied refugee youths from Sudan recently resettled in the United States. She analyzed narratives for both content and form and identified four themes that reflect coping strategies used by the participants: (a) collectivity and the communal self, (b) suppression and distraction, (c) making meaning, and (d) emerging from hopelessness to hope. The findings underscore the importance of understanding the cultural variations in responses to trauma and are discussed in relation to the concept of resilience.

  9. Helping Immigrant and Refugee Students Succeed: It's Not Just What Happens in the Classroom. Kugler, Eileen Gale , Acosta Price, Olga 8 page s . November 2009. English .

    This report explains how mental health issues among some immigrant and refugee children may negatively affect their performance in school.  The report also recommends successful strategies to engage families and partner with the community at large in order to break down stigmas and help newcomer students overcome hurdles in mental health and achieve in school.

  10. Highlight on the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN). Bridging Refugee Youth and Children's Services (BRYCS) 2 page s . September 2005. English .

    In this third installment of our Sidebar Series on "Promising Practices" we have highlighted the National Child Traumatic Stress Network's work identifying and developing interventions that are effective for addressing trauma in refugee children, youth, and their families.

  11. International Family, Adult, and Child Enhancement Services (FACES): A Community-Based Comprehensive Services Model for Refugee Children in Resettlement. Puig, Maria E. 121-132 page s . 2008. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    The development of evidence-based mental health interventions for refugees is complicated by the cultural and linguistic diversity of the participants, and the need to balance treatment of past traumatic experiences with ongoing support during the process of acculturation. In an effort to gather "practice-based evidence" from existing mental health services for refugees, a collaborative study of International Family, Adult, and Child Enhancement Services (FACES), a comprehensive, community-based mental health program working with refugee children, was conducted to describe the program participants and service delivery model and to assess whether participants improved over time as a function of services. Results showed that participants improved, but that the improvement was not related to dosage of services. Implications of these findings for refugee mental health services are discussed and suggestions are made for future evaluation research of mental health services with refugees.

  12. Mental Health Interventions for Refugee Children in Resettlement: White Paper II. National Child Traumatic Stress Network Refugee Trauma Task Force 32 page s . 2005. English .

    Argues for the necessity, and outlines the characteristics, of a comprehensive mental health services model for making mental health interventions with refugee children. Providers of mental health services to traumatized refugee children get information about: (1) mental health issues for refugee children in resettlement, including previous exposure to trauma, stresses of resettlement, and barriers to receiving services; (2) the importance of culturally competent and comprehensive mental health and social services; (3) research and analysis to date concerning the effectiveness of comprehensive services for children, including strategies involving trauma-informed treatments for children, psycho-educational and parenting interventions for mothers, and art and expressive therapy; (4) strategies to improve access to care and engagement in services; (5) approaches to cultural competence, including enhancing cultural awareness and sensitivity of mainstream providers, using ethnically matched professionals and paraprofessionals, and offering services in culture-specific clinics or centers; and (6) interventions designed to address the stresses of resettlement, including case management and preventive interventions. A focus on studying existing practices with refugee children can serve the long-term goal of developing evidence-based interventions for traumatized refugees.

  13. Mental Health Issues in Unaccompanied Refugee Minors. Huemer, Julia , Karnik, Niranjan S. , Voelkl-Kernsock, Sabine 10 page s . April 2009. English .

    This study evaluated Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among unaccompanied refugee minors (URMs) in the United States.  After assessing medical records of URMs from 1998 to 2008, the study found that these children have higher levels of PTSD than non-refugee youth and accompanied refugee minors.  The article calls for further study on long-term outcomes, stress management, and the creation of standardized, culturally-sensitive measures for a diverse refugee population of unaccompanied children suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.  

  14. Mental Health of Refugee Children: A Guide for the ESL Teacher. Birman, Dina 38 page s . 2002. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    Provides guidance to English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers about the challenges facing newly resettled refugee children in the United States. While the guide is not designed to turn ESL teachers into mental health specialists, it does recognize that they often are among the first resources available to help refugees cope with a new cultural environment. However, the guide does give ESL teachers the information they need to know how, when, and where to refer students within the service provider network. The guide reviews developmental and mental health issues for children in general; highlights the experiences of trauma and acculturation as key factors in the lives of refugee children that affect both development and mental health; and explains treatment options. Specific suggestions for the role of the ESL teacher include: (1) making the ESL classroom a safe place in the refugee child's life; (2) setting expectations for behavior, rewarding appropriate behavior, and using the techniques of behavior management to both create a more predictable classroom environment and reinforce English language skills; (3) providing active listening as well as peer mentoring opportunities; and (4) offering orientation to aspects of U.S. culture and the lives of U.S. students.

  15. Mental Health of Somali Adolescent Refugees: The Role of Trauma, Stress, and Perceived Discrimination. Ellis, Heidi B. , MacDonald, Helen Z. , Lincoln, Alisa K. 184-193 page s . 2008. English .

    The primary purpose of this study was to examine relations between trauma exposure, post-resettlement stressors, perceived discrimination, and mental health symptoms in Somali adolescent refugees resettled in the U.S. Participants were English-speaking Somali adolescent refugees between the ages of 11 and 20 (N = 135) who had resettled in the U.S. Participants were administered an interview battery comprising self-report instruments that included the UCLA Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Index, the War Trauma Screening Scale, the Every Day Discrimination scale, the Adolescent Post-War Adversities Scale, and the Acculturative Hassles Inventory. Results indicated that cumulative trauma was related to PTSD and depression symptoms. Further, post-resettlement stressors, acculturative stressors, and perceived discrimination were also associated with greater PTSD symptoms after accounting for trauma, demographic, and immigration variables. Number of years since resettlement in the US and perceived discrimination were significantly related to depressive symptoms, after accounting for trauma, demographic, and immigration variables. Further research elucidating the relations between post-resettlement stressors, discrimination, and mental health of refugee adolescents may inform intervention development.

  16. Minefields in Their Hearts: The Mental Health of Children in War and Communal Violence. Apfel, Roberta (ed.) , Simon, Bennett (ed.) 256 page s . September 1996. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    In this book, mental health professionals share their knowledge, experiences, and hopefulness in working with children exposed to war and violence. The result is a moving history of young lives affected by war, persecution, and communal violence, and an invaluable resource for anyone working with children subjected to such traumas. The contributors to this book - who include psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers, all with direct experience working with children who are victims of war and violence - address the ethics involved in working with children in war zones, children's development under circumstances of war or violence, post-traumatic stress disorder and other stress reactions, refugee children, "survivor guilt," interventions and treatments, and the emotional health of the caretakers. The book includes case studies on children of war in Kuwait, on a program involving children of Holocaust survivors and children of Nazi perpetrators, and on the Child Development-Community Policing Program in New Haven.

  17. New Directions in Refugee Youth Mental Health Services: Overcoming Barriers to Engagement. Ellis, B. Heidi , Miller, Alisa , Baldwin, Heather 69-85 page s . 2011. English .

    Mental health outcomes in refugee youth are diverse, ranging from prolonged difficulties to resiliency. Refugee communities rarely access services, even for those youth who are in need. Barriers include (a) distrust of authority and/or systems, (b) stigma of mental health services, (c) linguistic and cultural barriers, and (d) primacy and prioritization of resettlement stressors. Mental health promotion among refugee youth requires an integrated response to these barriers. This article includes a description of how the previously mentioned barriers may prevent refugee youth from receiving mental health services; approaches to addressing them; and a detailed
    description of Supporting the Health of Immigrant Families and Adolescents (Project SHIFA), a program developed in collaboration with the Somali community in Boston, Massachusetts.

  18. Partnering with Parents and Families to Support Immigrant and Refugee Children at School. Center for Health and Health Care in Schools 19 page s . June 2009. English .

    This issue brief describes the impact made by growing numbers of immigrant and refugee students entering American classrooms.  The brief also explains how families play an important role in student mental health and how schools can work with newcomer families in a culturally-sensitive way to provide school-based mental health services.

  19. Points of Wellness: Partnering for Refugee Health and Well-Being Toolkit. Research Triangle Institute, Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) page s . 2005. English .

    A health promotion and disease prevention program to assist organizations concerned with the well-being of refugees. 

  20. Preliminary Adaptations for Working with Traumatized Latino/Hispanic Children and their Families, a Culture and Trauma Brief. National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) 8 page s . 2007. English .

    "This resource from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), was developed through information gathered via a preliminary focus group of bilingual/bicultural therapists. This publication reviews some of the risk factors linked to trauma exposure that have been found to be more prevalent among Latino children, who are part of the largest and fastest-growing minority group in the U.S." - Publisher's description

  21. Promoting Refugee Health: A guide for doctors and other health care providers caring for people from refugee backgrounds. Foundation House 292 page s . 2007. English .

    Recognized as the only comprehensive refugee health resource in Australia, these hard-copy and online booklets provide comprehensive information on the who, the why and the how-to of caring for people from refugee backgrounds in primary, specialist and allied health care settings. The guides contain practice-based research and information on the following topics:

  22. Refugee Health and Wellness. Bridging Refugee Youth and Children's Services (BRYCS) 4 page s . August 2005. English .

    This spotlight provides an overview of health issues for refugee families and lists practical resources for those who serve them.

  23. Refugee Health Technical Assistance Center (RHTAC). Refugee and Immigrant Health Program, Massachusetts Department of Public Health page s . 2011. English .

    The Refugee Health Technical Assistance Center (RHTAC) is the Technical Assistance (TA) provider dedicated to improving the well-being of refugees to aid in their long term integration in the US. RHTAC has partnered with five organizations known for their experience and expertise in refugee health and mental health: Center for Refugee Trauma and Resilience at Children's Hospital Boston, Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture, Sauti Yetu Center for African Women, JSI Research and Training Institute and Cultural Orientation Resource Center at the Center for Applied Linguistics. The primary audience for RHTAC is refugee health providers, public health programs and mainstream health and mental health providers. RHTAC will provide TA to the range of ORR-funded programs and refugee communities to improve health and well-being.

  24. Refugee Services Toolkit. The Center for Refugee Trauma and Resilience page s . 2010. English .

    This toolkit was designed to help service system providers understand the experience of refugee children and families, identify the needs associated with their mental health, and ensure that they are connected with the most appropriate available interventions. In order to use this Toolkit, users will need to create a free account on the National Child Traumatic Stress Network Web site.

  25. Resilience and Recovery After War: Refugee Children and Families in the United States. The American Psychological Association (APA) 96 page s . 2010. English .

    This report includes a six-page executive summary, then an overview of literature on the topic, mental health services for refugee and war-affected children, and research on them and their families.

  26. Resilience in Unaccompanied Minors from the North of Somalia. Rousseau, Cecile , Said, Taher M. , Gagne, Marie-Josee 615-638 page s . August 1998. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    Reviews the literature on unaccompanied children, in general, and discusses the overlapping notions of resilience protection, in particular. Research related to the mental health of unaccompanied children has demonstrated that the interplay between traumatic events and multiple separations increases the risk of mental health problems among these children, but protective factors can mitigate these effects. Interviews conducted with young Somali refugees living in 3 cities in Canada (Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto) highlighted the sources of resilience and protection.

  27. Resilience of Refugee Children after War. APA Task Force on the Psychosocial Effects of War on Children and Families Who Are Refugees From Armed Conflict Residing in the United States page s . 2011. English .

    This report reviews the research on the psychosocial effects of war, identifies areas of needed culturally and developmentally appropriate research, and provides recommendations for culturally and developmentally informed practice and programs. (Description from source)

  28. Rethinking a Familiar Model: Psychotherapy and the Mental Health of Refugees. Miller, Kenneth E. 283-306 page s . 1999. .,_Ph.D./CV_files/Rethinking%20a%20Familiar%20Model.pdf

    This paper examines with a somewhat critical eye the primary role that psychotherapy and other clinic-based services currently play in addressing the mental health needs of political refugees in the industrialized countries.  Factors are considered which suggest that refugee mental health needs might be better served by complementing clinic-based treatments with a variety of community-based interventions.

  29. Screening and Assessing Immigrant and Refugee Youth in School-Based Mental Health Programs. Birman, Dina , Chan, Wing Yi 25 page s . May 2008. English .

    Presents an overview of mental health screening, identification, and assessment tools and processes for use by school-based practitioners who focus on immigrant and refugee youth. Since ten percent of the American student population consists of immigrants, counselors need to be sensitive to the potential for various mental health stressors -- migration and acculturation issues, pre-immigration trauma, and under-identification of mental health needs. Four sections address the process and surrounding issues of using cost-effective, school-based mental health services: (1) the benefits of selective versus universal screening and the challenges of obtaining parental consent: (2) the efficacy and effectiveness of various screening tools and the unique language challenges in administering these tools to non-English speakers; (3) broad, targeted, and selected screening measures; and (4) the assessment process initiated once the screening is complete and cautions to practitioners to use a comprehensiveteam approach before assigning a diagnosis or recommending special services or treatment.

  30. Suicide among Resettled Refugees: Understanding the Social and Cultural Context for Prevention Strategies. Refugee Health Technical Assistance Center page s . May 17, 2011. English .

    This recorded Webinar discusses whether refugees are at particularly high risk for suicide relative to the general population, factors contributing to high rates of suicide, and what can be done to prevent further suicides among resettled refugees. 

  31. The Impact of Generation and Country of Origin on the Mental Health of Children of Immigrants. Montazer, S. , Wheaton, B. 23-42 page s . March 2011. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    This article reexamines the study of generational differences in adjustment among the children of immigrants by arguing that the country of origin defines and shapes the adaptation process across generations. (Description from source)

  32. The Mental Health of Refugees: Ecological Approaches to Healing and Adaptation. Miller, Kenneth E. (ed.) , Rasco, Lisa M. (ed.) 429 page s . 2004. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    This book offers a unique angle of vision from which to consider how mental health professionals can respond effectively to the psychological needs of communities displaced by war and other forms of political violence. The view represents a departure from the medical model that has guided most mental health research and intervention with refugees. -Description from source

  33. The NCTSN: Raising the Standard of Care for Traumatized Children and Their Families. Bridging Refugee Youth and Children's Services (BRYCS) 5 page s . September 2005. English .

    In this spotlight, we continue to build off of a previous highlight on the National Child Traumatic Stress Network's work identifying and developing interventions that are effective for addressing trauma in refugee children, youth, and their families.

  34. The Prevention Researcher Special Issue: Immigrant and Refugee Youth. Ungerleidger, Steven (ed.) 20 page s . November 2007. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    "Immigrant and refugee youth are extremely diverse: coming from many different countries, for many different reasons, with varying amounts of resources. While these youth have many of the same needs as their non-immigrant peers, they also have unique challenges and strengths. Since one in ten children enrolled in U.S. schools today is foreign born, understanding and responding to their needs is important. This issue of The Prevention Researcher takes a look at youth who are immigrants and refugees, examining their strengths and needs from an ecological perspective - including families, schools, and communities." - Publisher's description Contents A Cultural-Ecological Model of Migration and Development: Focusing on Latino Immigrant Youth - Krista M. Perreira, Ph.D., and Luke Smith, M.D. Immigrant and Refugee Youth: Migration Journeys and Cultural Values - Rowena Fong, Ed.D Immigrant Youth in U.S. Schools: Opportunities for Prevention - Dina Birman, Ph.D., Traci Weinstein, M.A., Wing Yi Chan, B.S., and Sarah Beehler, B.A. Promising Practices in Positive Youth Development with Immigrants and Refugees - Lyn Morland, MSW., MA Understanding and Responding to the Needs of Newcomer Immigrant Youth and Families - Francisco X. Gaytán, MSW, Ed.M., Avary Carhill, M.A., and Carola Suárez-Orozco, Ph.D.

  35. The Refugee Experience: Psychosocial Training Module. Ager, Alastair (ed) , Loughry, Maryanne (ed) . 2001. English .

    This 30-hour psychosocial training module and associated resources was designed to facilitate the training of humanitarian assistance workers in response to the psychosocial needs of refugees. 

    Domestic refugee resettlement workers and mental health practitioners may be particularly interested in the discussion guides on "Non-western Concepts of Mental Health" and "Understanding the Psychosocial Needs of Refugee Children and Adolescents."

  36. Transcending Violence: Emerging Models for Trauma Healing in Refugee Communities. Blanch, Andrea 37 page s . May 29, 2008. English .

    This report provides an overview of mental health trauma services for refugees in the United States. The report discusses a public health approach for responding to refugees' trauma, which requires focusing on communities rather than individuals. It also discusses the relevance of diagnosing PTSD with refugee populations and has a section on the application of current trauma treatment models to refugee populations.

  37. Treating Traumatized Immigrant and Refugee Youth. Ellis, B. Heidi , Cohen, Judith . December 2009. English .

    This archived webinar demonstrates how identifying and treating trauma-related mental health symptoms and promoting healthy coping is crucial to helping new American youth survive and thrive in their new home, schools, and communities. Participants will be able to describe common components of evidence-based treatments for traumatized immigrant and refugee children and youth. The webinar is available in both audio and visual forms.

  38. Understanding Immigrant Families from Around the World. Chuang, Susan S. , Gielen, Uwe P. 4 page s . June 2009. English This resource may be free from your local library or purchased from the publisher.

    This issue of the Journal of Family Psychology addresses family processes and children’s psychological adjustment in the presence of trenchant sociocultural change, cultural conflict, family dislocation, and the need for readjustment to new social environments. This special issue of 15 articles focuses on the psychosocial adaptation of immigrant families, parenting practices and their implications for child outcomes, and the importance of parent–adolescent relationships for adolescent mental health.  BRYCS’ audiences will be particularly interested in the article The Experiences of Sudanese Unaccompanied Minors in Foster Care.

  39. Understanding, Preventing, and Treating Problem Behaviors Among Refugee and Immigrant Youth. Hunt, Dennis , Morland, Lyn , Barocas, Ralph 52 page s . January 2, 2002. English .

    Provides an overview of current research concerning adjustment and behavioral problems, including violence, among refugee and immigrant youth living in the United States as well as suggestions for effective prevention and treatment programs that can be used by health, education, and social service agencies. Chapters cover: (1) key definitions; (2) national statistics on youth problem behavior and prevalence of problem behaviors among refugee and immigrant youth; (3) risk factors for maladjustment and problem behaviors, viewed in the context of the individual, family, school, peer group, and community, as well as protective factors; and (4) applicability of mainstream anti-violence programs, highlighted by the Preserving, Enriching, and Assisting Refugee Children through Enrichment (PEACE) program, spearheaded by the Utah State Division of Mental Health. The strength of the PEACE program is the structure and integrity of its consensus-building process, which enables full participation, a sense of ownership, and leadership by the refugee community. Programs successfully adapted for refugee and immigrant youth are culturally sensitive, developmentally appropriate, comprehensive, family focused, long term and enduring, and sufficiently intense and involve early intervention, high rates of recruitment and retention, and highly trained personnel.

  40. Working with Interpreters in Child Mental Health. Rousseau, Cecile , Measham, Toby , Moro, Marie-Rose 55-59 page s . 2011. English .

    This article identifies the importance of interpreters for refugee and immigrant patients presenting with mental health problems. This paper describes some of the challenges associated with working with interpreters for the diagnosis of child psychiatric disorders and for intervention in situations of family crisis.