A file study of refugee children referred to specialized mental health care: from an individual diagnostic to an ecological perspective
- 518 Downloads
The past years have been characterized by a large refugee crisis across the globe. The exposure to preflight, flight, and resettlement stressors puts refugee children and their families at risk of developing emotional and behavioral disorders. A unique Western-based approach of mental health problems seems to be insufficient to address the complexity of interactions between individual vulnerabilities and more ecological surrounding systems. We looked into (1) the reasons for referral; and (2) the process diagnostic outcomes after ethnopsychiatric and psychological assessment. We conducted a thematic content analysis on 93 files of refugee children. The findings suggest that mental health care professionals need to hold into account the multiplicity and intertwining of ongoing challenges to the well-being of refugee children. The integration of a Western-based psychiatric assessment with a more ecologically based view can lead to a more culturally sensitive approach in refugee children and their families. This way, both under- and overdiagnosis of psychiatric disorders could be avoided to further optimalise mental health care in this population.
KeywordsRefugees Refugee children Ecological framework Culturally sensitive approach File study Mental health care
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.
European Refugee Fund.
- 1.UNHCR The UN refugee agency (2016) Global trends. Forced displacement in 2015. Retrieved from http://www.unhcr.org/576408cd7.pdf. Accessed 7 March 2017
- 2.Commissariaat-Generaal voor de vluchtelingen en staatlozen (2017) Asielstatistieken. Overzicht 2016. Retrieved from http://www.cgvs.be/sites/default/files/asielstatistieken_2016_nl.pdf. Accessed 7 March 2017
- 8.Domnich A, Panatto D, Gasparini R, Amicizia D (2012) The “Healthy Immigrant” effect: does it exist in Europe today? Ital J Public Health 9:3Google Scholar
- 14.Bevaert F (2013) Ethnic differences in pathways in care for young children with problem behaviour: road work in progress. University Medical Center, RotterdamGoogle Scholar
- 15.Bhui K, Stansfeld S, Hull S, Priebe S, Mole F, Feder G (2014) Ethnic variations in pathways to and use of specialist mental health services in the UK: systematic review ethnic variations in pathways to and use of specialist mental health services in the UK Systematic review. Most 182(2):105–116Google Scholar
- 17.van Dijk R, Beijers H, Groen S (2012) Het culturele interview. Pharos, UtrechtGoogle Scholar
- 18.Serneels G, Villanueva O’Driscoll J, Imeraj L, Vanfraussen K, Lampo A An intervention supporting the mental health of children with a refugee background. Issues in mental health nursing (In press)Google Scholar
- 21.Neuendorf KA (2016) The content analysis guidebook. Sage, LondonGoogle Scholar
- 29.Ghorashi H, van de Vijver FJR (2010) Culturele erkenning, persoonlijke ontwikkeling en etnische identiteit. In: de Jong J, Colijn S (eds) Handboek culturele psychiatrie en psychotherapie. de Tijdstroom, Utrecht, pp 57–74Google Scholar
- 32.Kagitcibasi C (2007) Family, self and human development across cultures. Theory and applications. Lawrence Erlbaun Associates Inc, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
- 37.Miller KE, Rasco LM (eds) (2004) The mental health of refugees: ecological approaches to healing and adaptation. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, New JerseyGoogle Scholar