Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 345–350 | Cite as

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

  • Jennifer L. Ballard-KangEmail author
  • Thomas R. Lawson
  • Jane Evans
Original Paper


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 



No funding support was received for this study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This study was approved by the university’s Institutional Review Board.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was not obtained or required for this study because it was a secondary analysis of data; informed consent exemption was obtained from the university’s IRB.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Patterson Hall, Kent School of Social WorkUniversity of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA
  2. 2.Kentucky Refugee MinistriesLouisvilleUSA

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