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Refugees & Mental Health Concerns

Hello colleagues, In my community, we typically settle a large number of refugees. One of the issues that often arises is how to effectively handle mental health concerns. Of course, having partner who specialize in behavioral health is critical. Plus, we know how culturally sensitive these issues can be.  I'm wondering if members know of helpful resources that address this issue.

In checking the LINCS resource collection, I located "Mental Health and the ESL Classroom:  A Guide for Teachers Working with Refugees" a resource produced in 2000 by the International Institute of Boston and Immigration and Refugee Services of America.

If you know of other resources, please share them here.

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition

Comments

Kathy_Tracey's picture

Hi Susan, 
I may sound like a broken record on this topic :-) but I firmly believe an answer is in Trauma Informed Leadership. Check out this publication https://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA14-4884/SMA14-4884.pdf. There is a wealth of information here. I am proposing a COABE session on TIL and how we can build effective practices in our program and classroom - therefore leading to student retention and student acheivement. 

I hope to also have a specific week long discussion on this topic on LINCS after COABE to further the discussion.... But, for now - and in an answer to your question, I think the linked resource will provide additional information to practitioners looking for more resources. 

Sincerely, 

Kathy Tracey
@Kathy_Tracey

Susan Finn Miller's picture

Hello colleagues, I wanted to revisit this thread because it's an ongoing concern.  A few recent conversations with learners and practitioners has reminded me--again-- that chronic stress and depression is all too common among many of the learners we work with. For example, in a meeting with coordinators of volunteer-based ESL programs, the coordinators indicated that their main area of concern was mental health issues. For another example, just last week I spoke with a volunteer who supports internationally trained medical professionals, and he reported that deep depression is pervasive among this group. In addition, in a one-on-one conversation I had with a man from Nepal, he acknowledged that he had experienced depression so serious that all he thought about for months was returning home to Nepal.

Thanks, Kathy, for linking us to some valuable resources. I came across another site with helpful information that focuses on applying a strengths-based approach in our practice to support individuals living with trauma and chronic stress. This Zacarian consulting blog higlights the work of English language learner experts Debbie Zacarian, Lourdes Álvarez-Ortiz, and Judie Haynes. While these experts work in a K12 environment, they recognize that these mental health concerns affect the entire immigrant family. The information they share is relevant to our work with adults.

If you engage with refugees and others who have mental health challenges, please share your experiences here. Check out the recommended resources and let us know what you think.

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition

Andy Nash's picture

Susan,

Related to your post, I just saw an announcement for a free webinar on Nov. 9 on "Immigrant Trauma and How to Deal With It" being offered by the Public Education Institute of the Immigrant Learning Center. The write, "Join experts in psychology, social work, advocacy and education to learn about the trauma facing immigrants in America today and the best strategies to approach it." Here's the link: http://www.ilctr.org/promoting-immigrants/ilc-workshops/immigrant-trauma-one-year-later/

Andy

Marie M. Narvaez's picture

Hi Andy,

I actually saw this webinar information and forwarded to my caseload of ABE programs. I thought it's a good one to share.

lclark's picture

Some of you may find the work of Jenny Horsman to be useful when working with survivors of violence: http://learningandviolence.net/.