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Mental health of refugee children: A discursive look at causes, considerations and interventions

journal contribution
posted on 2022-05-18, 03:53 authored by Michelle ClearyMichelle Cleary, Sancia WestSancia West, Andrew Foong, Loyola McLean, Rachel Kornhaber
There is a growing need both locally and internationally to manage the effects of traumatic and loss experiences on the development and recovery of refugee children and young people. Trauma, whether active or through deprivation, is degenerative, with crucial impact on developing bodies, brains and minds. This discursive article considers the nature and scope of the problem and draws on literature and current frameworks to suggest the importance of interventions and proactive protection of mental health for this sub-group of refugees. School is discussed as a place of primary intervention but also a player in creative and sophisticated multimodal integrative services. A range of approaches can be, and, indeed are used in response to mental health issues for children in detention or upon resettlement. Schooling represents one such solution, providing a multi-pronged approach to facilitate mental health improvement for these children. For children needing to recover from loss and trauma secondary to experiences as a refugee, school offers a developmentally appropriate space to mobilise and enhance recovery, both at a simple level and as part of more specialised secondary and tertiary level care. The implications for future practice among health care professionals is to understand the mental health plight of refugee children, through both their pre-arrival exposure to trauma and their post-arrival, detention setting, the key role that schooling can play in facilitating mental health, and the capacity to advocate for programmes and services to work collaboratively with schools to achieve greater access for refugee children.

Funding

Category 2 - Other Public Sector Grants Category

History

Volume

40

Issue

8

Start Page

665

End Page

671

Number of Pages

7

eISSN

1096-4673

ISSN

0161-2840

Location

England

Publisher

Informa Healthcare

Language

eng

Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • No

External Author Affiliations

The University of Sydney; University of Tasmania

Era Eligible

  • Yes

Medium

Print-Electronic

Journal

Issues in Mental Health Nursing