Developing Preventive Mental Health Interventions for Refugee Families in Resettlement

Author(s) :Stevan MERRILL WEINE

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1545-5300.2011.01366.x/full

Abstract

In refugee resettlement, positive psychosocial outcomes for youth and adults depend to a great extent on their families. Yet refugee families find few empirically based services geared toward them. Preventive mental health interventions that aim to stop, lessen, or delay possible negative individual mental health and behavioral sequelae through improving family and community protective resources in resettled refugee families are needed. This paper describes 8 characteristics that preventive mental health interventions should address to meet the needs of refugee families, including: Feasibility, Acceptability, Culturally Tailored, Multilevel, Time Focused, Prosaicness, Effectiveness, and Adaptability. To address these 8 characteristics in the complex environment of refugee resettlement requires modifying the process of developmental research through incorporating innovative mental health services research strategies, including: resilience framework, community collaboration, mixed methods with focused ethnography, and the comprehensive dynamic trial. A preventive intervention development cycle for refugee families is proposed based on a program of research on refugees and migrants using these services research strategies. Furthering preventive mental health for refugee families also requires new policy directives, multisystemic partnerships, and research training.

Key words : refugee resettlement, preventive mental health interventions, developmental research, resilience, mental disorder, distress, emotional adaptation

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