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Identifying Needs, Vulnerabilities and Resources in Refugee Persons and Groups

  • Thomas Wenzel
  • Sabine Völkl-Kernstock
  • Tatiana Urdaneta Wittek
  • David Baron
Chapter

Abstract

The global increase in refugees has led to a number of critical challenges, which should be addressed by an interdisciplinary approach to permit identification and understanding of the complex needs and vulnerabilities of the diverse refugee groups, and guide both emergency aid and long-term planning.

The approach chosen would be guided by the priorities in a specific situation, and the professional background of the helper. In an emergency setting a comprehensive assessment of mental health might for example not be possible or even necessary. Therefore, we recommend the reader selects the sections of the following chapter that are most relevant to his or her work.

Part I of the chapter will introduce the subject with a short overview of general assessment models and tools, developed by UN organisations and international NGOs that should be considered in any humanitarian disaster and displacement of large population groups. The authors also address specifics that are frequently neglected, including considerations of ethics and data protection in shared data.

Part II of the chapter explores the identification and primary protection of vulnerable groups. As an example of the complex interdisciplinary situation encountered in highly vulnerable groups, this chapter also elaborates on the specific steps relevant to the support and protection of survivors of torture. These include legal, medical, social and psychological aspects, and can be linked to developing strategies like universal jurisdiction contributing to long-term justice and the recovery of a civil society.

Identification of resources and resilience factors is also important to counter the risk of a too narrow focus on vulnerabilities in the assessment of refugee groups and will be covered in this part of the chapter.

Parts III and IV of this chapter focus on the specific aspect of mental health assessment in adults and children including specific toolboxes and instruments that can be used for the evaluation of mental health-related factors in communities, groups and individuals.

Keywords

Assessment Diagnosis Mental health planning Traumatic stress Stress reaction Transcultural psychiatry Resilience Human rights Torture 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Wenzel
    • 1
  • Sabine Völkl-Kernstock
    • 2
    • 3
  • Tatiana Urdaneta Wittek
    • 4
  • David Baron
    • 5
  1. 1.World Psychiatric Association Scientific Section, Psychological Aspects of Persecution and TortureGenevaSwitzerland
  2. 2.Trauma Assessment and Child Protection UnitMedical University of ViennaViennaAustria
  3. 3.Department of Child- and Youth PsychiatryMedical University of ViennaViennaAustria
  4. 4.Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human RightsViennaAustria
  5. 5.PsychiatryKeck Hospital of USC, Keck School of Medicine at USCLos AngelesUSA

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