In this section
Children and young people of refugee-like background are likely to have been exposed to significant adversity, before and after arrival in Australia. Many have experienced past trauma, conflict, and family separation, and they may have additive risks for mental health and developmental concerns through parent mental illness, disrupted family functioning, and interrupted schooling. Consider the timing of trauma exposure(s) in relation to development milestones.
Widely variable rates of
mental health issues are reported in refugee children/adolescents, although there is more information available on the prevalence of PTSD, depression, and anxiety than other diagnoses. Prevalence is specific
to cohorts, conflicts and countries of settlement.23-25
Consider the presence of family members (especially with adolescents) and issues specific to
working with interpreters. Briefing and debriefing interpreting colleagues (checking in with their experience of trauma disclosures) is especially important for consultations exploring mental health. Define confidentiality, and (separately) define
The following areas are useful to explore during initial consultations:
issues can present as difficulties with27
General principles of managing children/adolescents experiencing trauma reactions and/or mental health concerns include:
of these strategies can be
implemented while waiting for specialist mental health input.
Immigrant health clinic resources. Authors Karen Kiang, Rachel Heenan and Georgie Paxton. Last revision June 2020. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org