The Mental Health of Refugees: Ecological Approaches to Healing and Adaptation

Synopsis

It is estimated that at least 33 million people around the world have been displaced from their homes by war or persecution. Numerous studies have documented high rates of psychological distress among these survivors of extreme violence and forced migration, yet very few have access to clinic-based mental health care. In any case, clinic-based services cannot adequately address the constellation of displacement-related stressors that affect refugees daily, whether in a new region of their homeland or a new country--stressors such as social isolation, the loss of previously valued social roles, poverty and a lack of employment opportunities, and difficulties obtaining education and medical care. Additionally, many refugees from non-western societies find western methods of psychiatric and psychological healing culturally alien or stigmatizing, and therefore underutilize such services. This book brings together an international group of experts on the mental health of refugees who have pioneered a new approach to healing the psychological wounds of war and forced migration. Their work is guided by an ecological model, which, in contrast to the prevailing medical model of psychiatry and clinical psychology, emphasizes the development of culturally grounded mental health interventions in non-stigmatized community settings. The ecological model also prioritizes synergy with natural community resources to promote adaptation, prevention over treatment, the active involvement of community members in all phases of the intervention process, and the empowerment of marginalized communities to address their own mental health needs. Drawing on their expertise in community psychology, preventionscience, anthropology, social psychology, social psychiatry, public health and child development, the authors present a variety of highly innovative, culturally grounded interventions designed to improve the mental health and psy

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Kenneth E. Miller
  • Lisa M. Rasco
  • Michael Wessells
  • Carlinda Monteiro
  • Jon Hubbard
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Mahwah, NJ
Publication year:
  • 2004