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|Title:||Unaccompanied Refugee Minors’ Experiences of Mental Health Services|
|Presented at:||University of Leicester|
|Abstract:||Background: The current evidence shows that unaccompanied refugee minors have poorer adjustment and greater psychiatric morbidity than the general population. Despite the availability of some treatment options, there have been widespread concerns about poor access and utilization of mental health services in this population. Very limited research evidence is available on their perceptions and experiences of treatment for mental illness and mental health services. Research aims: The aims of this research were to explore the unaccompanied refugee minors’ experiences of mental health service, the factors contributing to the experiences and their perceived ways of improving these services. Methods: A clinical sample of 15 unaccompanied refugee minors and their carers were recruited from consecutive referrals to a specialist Children and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS) team for looked after children. Young people and their carers were interviewed using a semi structured interview schedule. Interviews were audio taped, transcribed verbatim and analysed by a thematic framework. Results: The main emerging themes related to participants’ understanding of mental health, experiences of services and interventions, and suggestions for future improvement. Young persons’ limited knowledge of mental health services, lack of trust and fear of stigma were perceived as main factors affecting their engagement. They preferred not to talk about their past at this stage, but rather expected clinicians to help them address their present needs. Activity-based interventions were favoured over talking treatments. Strategies to engage the young persons, and connecting with other agencies and communities were recommended by the participants. Conclusions: The findings provide support for the role that preparation, engagement, and communication between agencies and communities may play in the unaccompanied refugee minors’ experience. These findings are discussed in the context of previous evidence. Clinical and service implications as well as recommendations for future research are considered.|
|Rights:||Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.|
|Appears in Collections:||Theses, School of Psychology|
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