142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Effectiveness of Trauma-Informed Peace Education for Mental Health in Somali Refugees

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 : 10:30 AM - 10:42 AM

Hyojin Im, Ph.D. , School of Social Work, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
Violent social conflict provokes complex humanitarian emergencies including refugee situation. High prevalence of common mental disorders is common among refugees and yet mental health care and psychosocial support for them is meager during migration process. In fact, a majority of refugees are displaced in low-resource countries where mental health is often deprioritized and neglected. Moreover, ongoing ethnic/political conflicts transmitted from the home county tend to deteriorate social capital of the refugee community and exacerbate aftermaths of trauma.  The current study was developed to address such gaps in mental health and psychosocial support for Somali refugees in Nairobi, Kenya, by developing a culturally and contextually relevant intervention model that is grounded to the refugee community in a low-resource setting. The intervention, called Trauma-Informed Peace Education (TIPE), was based on psychoeducation focusing on impact of trauma, mental health symptoms and coping, combined with peace education involving basic conflict resolution and life skills. Total 250 young Somali refugees participated in the intervention and showed two sets of positive outcomes: 1) mental health symptom reduction in PTSD, Depression, and Somatic pains among individuals with moderate to severe symptoms at baseline; and 2) enhancement of sense of community, perceived social support, and competency in stress coping among participants with mild mental health symptoms. This research corroborates abundant needs for psychosocial and mental health support for urban refugees in low resource settings, while indicating the importance of culturally/contextually relevant intervention model that addresses complex needs of the community for mental health and peace-building.

Learning Areas:

Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify sociocultural contexts of refugee mental health and psychosocial support in urban LMIC settings. Discuss sustainable intervention models for mental health and psychosocial support to urban refugees in Kenya.

Keyword(s): Refugees, Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal or co-principal of a few projects whose funding sources include federal/state governments, community foundations, and international organizations. The projects were to improve refugee mental health and strengthen social support systems of various refugee communities, both local and international. I've conducted evaluation research on peace education program in Dadaab refugee camp, Kenya, and developed and provided culturally relevant psychoeducation to refugee community leaders, health workers, and youth leaders in Nairobi, Kenya.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.