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Public Health Rep. 2005 May-Jun;120(3):224-9.

Findings from mental health screening of newly arrived refugees in Colorado.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO, USA.


States are required to provide a public health screening for all newly arrived refugees in the United States. In 1997, a comprehensive program was created to include both a physical examination and a mental health screening. This article provides a complete description of the mental health screening process, including two illustrative cases, and reports information about the refugees who participated in the program. Ten percent of screened refugees were offered mental health referrals; of those, 37% followed up. Refugees who presented for treatment reported a higher number of symptoms upon screening compared with those who were offered referrals but did not follow up. Psychiatric evaluation confirmed that those who screened positive and presented for treatment were experiencing a high level of suffering and qualified for mental health diagnoses. The findings support inclusion of a mental health screening as part of the public health screening.

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