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Transcult Psychiatry. 2015 Dec;52(6):766-90. doi: 10.1177/1363461515571624. Epub 2015 Mar 2.

In or out? Barriers and facilitators to refugee-background young people accessing mental health services.

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Queen Mary University of London and University of Melbourne
University of Melbourne.
Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture, Melbourne.
Centre for Multicultural Youth, Melbourne.
Immigrant Health Service at the Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne.


Refugee young people have been identified as a group with high risk for mental health problems, due to their experience of trauma, forced migration, and stressors associated with settlement. A high prevalence of mental health problems is reported in this group, however some research suggests refugee young people have low rates of mental health service access. There is little information available on barriers and facilitators to mental service delivery for this group. Using data from 15 focus groups and five key informant interviews with a total of 115 service providers from 12 agencies in Melbourne, Australia, this paper explores barriers and facilitators to engaging young people from refugee backgrounds with mental health services. Eight key themes emerged: cultural concepts of mental health, illness, and treatment; service accessibility; trust; working with interpreters; engaging family and community; the style and approach of mental health providers; advocacy; and continuity of care.


barriers; facilitators; mental health; refugee; service utilisation; young people; youth

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