Provider Perspectives of Services Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Resettled Refugee Youth

Abstract

A range of services are provided to assist resettled refugees with meeting their basic needs and supporting their integration in the United States. The inability to adequately assess and address the mental health needs among youth in this population is a concern raised by service providers who work with resettled refugees. The current study aimed to gain the perspectives of those who serve this population about the strengths and barriers to mental health services addressing the needs of resettled refugee youth. We conducted individual interviews and applied inductive qualitative methods to identify themes. Supplemental survey data were collected as well; descriptive findings are integrated into the themes. Analysis resulted in six themes. Refugee youth service providers observe high levels of resilience and positive development among youth who engage in programs, in addition to concerns that many refugee youth might not be thriving nor accessing adequate services. Providers’ recommendations for best practices focus mainly on cultural competence and engagement with youth in the context of their families, communities, and groups, and less on individual counseling. A depth of nuance and complexity regarding language and cultural barriers. Results contribute greater understanding and credence to the importance for improving the capacity to recognize and intervene in refugee youth mental health needs. Offers important insight for assessment of refugee youth programs and well-being, enhancing youth services, and approaching further research.

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Correspondence to Shandra S. Forrest-Bank.

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Forrest-Bank, S.S., Held, M.L. & Jones, A. Provider Perspectives of Services Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Resettled Refugee Youth. Child Adolesc Soc Work J 36, 669–684 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10560-019-00602-1

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Keywords

  • Refugee youth
  • System of care
  • Mental health
  • Positive youth development