, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 69-85
Date: 16 Jan 2014

New Directions in Refugee Youth Mental Health Services: Overcoming Barriers to Engagement

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Mental health outcomes in refugee youth are diverse, ranging from prolonged difficulties to resiliency. Refugee communities rarely access services, even for those youth who are in need. Barriers include (a) distrust of authority and/or systems, (b) stigma of mental health services, (c) linguistic and cultural barriers, and (d) primacy and prioritization of resettlement stressors. Mental health promotion among refugee youth requires an integrated response to these barriers. This article includes a description of how the previously mentioned barriers may prevent refugee youth from receiving mental health services; approaches to addressing them; and a detailed description of Supporting the Health of Immigrant Families and Adolescents (Project SHIFA), a program developed in collaboration with the Somali community in Boston, Massachusetts.