Reaching Out for Help: An Analysis of the Differences Between Refugees Who Accept and Those Who Decline Community Mental Health Services

Author(s): Jennifer L. BALLARD-KANG ; Thomas R. LAWSON ; Jane EVANS


In 2012, clinics in Louisville, Kentucky began to use the RHS-15 to screen for mental health issues among refugees. At the same time, mental health outreach programs were developed and implemented by the Mental Health Coordinator. Data from 563 refugee clients referred to the Mental Health Coordinator from 2012 to 2015 was analyzed to examine differences between refugees who accepted referral to community mental health services and those who declined on the variables age, gender, country of origin, time in the U.S., and referral source. Results indicate significant differences with regard to time in the U.S. and referral source. Those more likely to accept services included refugees in the U.S. more than 240 days and those referred by non-clinic sources. Findings improve our understanding of the characteristics of refugees who accept and decline mental health services and support the value of both formal screening and community outreach programs.


Refugee/s ; Mental health ; Service utilization ; Screening ; Outreach 

Tags: United States, Refugees, Access to mental health care, Screening, Duration of residence

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