Multi-tier mental health program for refugee youth

Ellis, B.H., Miller, A.B., Abdi, S., Barrett, C., Blood, E.A., & Betancourt, T.S.
Date of Publication: 
February, 2013
Source Organization: 

The research literature indicates that a lack of resources has a significant impact on the overall psychosocial well-being of refugee youth, perhaps playing an even larger role in predicting psychological distress than the experience of trauma itself. Taking into account environmental factors, including resource hardships and acculturative stresses, is crucial for any intervention promoting the mental well-being of refugee youth. The authors of this study report preliminary findings from an intervention implemented with Somali refugee middle school students in New England. The intervention followed a multi-tier service model to maximize participation of the Somali refugee community through building trust and engagement with providers before offering more intensive mental health services. The intervention targeted "community resilience building" in the general Somali community as well as "youth resilience building" through weekly group sessions offered in the middle school, as well as increasing levels of intensive, individualized counseling through the Trauma Systems Therapy model for youth identified as needing an advanced level of care. Preliminary results supported this multi-tiered model's effectiveness with engaging and retaining Somali refugee youth in treatment, as well as reducing symptoms of depression and PTSD and resource hardships. (Immigrant Integration Lab at Boston College)

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Ellis, B. H., Miller, A. B., Abdi, S., Barrett, C., Blood, E. A., & Betancourt, T. S. (2013). Multi-tier mental health program for refugee youth. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 81(1), 129–140.