Community and School Based Mental Health Interventions for Refugee Children and Adolescents: A 2010-2020 Systematic Literature Review
Abstract: Introduction: Traumatic experiences before, during but also after refugee children’s and adolescents’ displacement impose harmful mental health symptoms like post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety. Nevertheless, such threats can be addressed since mental health interventions have been found not only effective but are seen as a legal and ethical obligation. Aim: This study’s aim was to systematically investigate and present available school and community based mental health interventions for refugee children and adolescents from 2010-2020 and to report on their outcome. This systematic review was conducted in order to address certain gaps in literature about contemporary mental health interventions for refugee children and adolescents. Method: Specific search terms were used in three scientific online databases (EBSCO-ERIC, PsycINFO and Scopus) and for a manual searching. Six prime studies emerged through title, abstract and full-text examination based on inclusion and exclusion criteria and quality assessment. Results: After data analysis was completed several themes and categories were identified. Most mental health interventions were community based and adopted Cognitive Behavioural Therapy’s principles. There was also a school based mental health intervention that adopted creative arts. However, all yielded promising results in alleviating harmful mental health symptoms. Key concepts like caregivers’ role, culture, activities employed and reflection on theories seem to follow similar patterns in the prime stud-ies. The results are discussed in relation to literature and are critically reflected upon. Conclusion: Successful mental health interventions for refugee children and adolescents allow for hope to be fostered. Intervention designers and other professionals can use the discussed characteristics and factors in their approaches that seemingly can lead to resilience and post traumatic growth.
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