Author(s):Stevan M. WIENE, Gene KUC, Eldin DZUDZA, Lisa RAZZANO, Ivan PAVKOVIC
Abstract: The objective of this study was to investigate providers’ knowledge, attitudes and service provision patterns for Bosnian refugees with PTSD and to consider the overall implications for trauma-related mental health services. A survey instrument was developed and administered to 30 randomly selected service providers working with Bosnian refugees in Chicago. This sample includes primary medical care providers (n = 7), community social service providers (n = 12), and mental health service providers (n = 11). Results showed that knowledge about PTSD is highest in mental health service providers, as is amount of previous training and education about PTSD. Less than half of all providers systematically assess for PTSD, and standardized instruments for PTSD are rarely used. The top three overall recommendations for services were ranked as: 1. Psychotherapy; 2. No intervention; 3. Psychiatric evaluation. In general, less than half of providers hold attitudes toward refugees as suffering from illnesses or mental disorders, or that “something” is wrong with them. Likewise, only half of the providers reported providing education to refugees and their families about the possible mental health consequences of trauma. In conclusion, assessment, intervention and educational activities of providers are not consistent with literature documenting that PTSD is highly prevalent in refugee populations. New training programs, model development, and research initiatives are needed to address the needs of refugees.
Key words: PTSD, Refugees, Services