A school-based mental health intervention for refugee children: an exploratory study.
Fazel M., Doll H., Stein A.
This report describes an exploratory study of a school-based mental health service developed to address the psychological needs of refugee children. The service was made available in three schools and followed a consultative framework. Refugee children were discussed with the mental health team and children at greatest risk were seen. A questionnaire of psychological functioning was completed by teachers before and after the intervention. Data were collected on 47 refugee children and two control groups (ethnic minority and indigenous white children). Subgroup analyses compared children who were seen directly by the service with those for whom only consultation was provided. Refugee children had poorer overall adjustment at baseline particularly in the emotional and peer problem domains. The greatest improvements following the intervention were seen in hyperactivity for the refugee group and in peer problems for the refugees directly seen by the service. While further studies are necessary to assess its efficacy, this exploratory study indicates that an intervention which involves collaboration with teachers and parents, in an environment where children spend much of their time, can benefit vulnerable children.