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


Cleary, M and West, S and Foong, A and McLean, L and Kornhaber, R, Mental health of refugee children: a discursive look at causes, considerations and interventions, Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 40, (8) pp. 665-671. ISSN 0161-2840 (2019) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC

DOI: doi:10.1080/01612840.2019.1585494


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.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:mental health, refugee, children, causes, interventions
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Mental health services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Provision of health and support services
Objective Field:Mental health services
UTAS Author:Cleary, M (Professor Michelle Cleary)
UTAS Author:West, S (Dr Sancia West)
UTAS Author:Foong, A (Dr Andrew Foong)
UTAS Author:Kornhaber, R (Dr Rachel Kornhaber)
ID Code:132547
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:Nursing
Deposited On:2019-05-12
Last Modified:2019-08-07

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