Mental Health Support for Asylum Seekers and Refugees Providing Emotional First Aid for Refugees, Second Annual Conference
Monday 22 May 2017
De Vere West One Conference Centre, London
Follow the conference on Twitter #RefugeeMentalHealth
A Joint Conference Healthcare Conferences UK & The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust
Since 2005 the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust has run a specialist CAMHS service for Refugees and Asylum Seekers offering a range of individual, family, group and community interventions. Over the course of the last year the service has seen an acute rise in referrals particularly of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) following the dismantling of the “Calais jungle” in October 2016 by the French authorities. Through the closure of the camp, The Home Office estimates there are up to 400 young people from countries including Syria, Afghanistan and Kuwait’s stateless Bidoon community that have become resettled in the UK.* The increase in demand for our services has led to new ways of working including the development of psychosocial interventions in association with voluntary providers.
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child defines unaccompanied minors and unaccompanied children as those "who have been separated from both parents and other relatives and are not being cared for by an adult who, by law or custom, is responsible for doing so." Providing secure long term placements and relationships are difficult at the best of times. There are particular difficulties with unaccompanied asylum-seeking children brought about by their age and circumstances and in particular decisions on their asylum claim including a refusal. In one study (Sinclair, Baker, Lee, & Gibbs, 2007), 40% of placements had lasted for less than 6 months.
The impact upon our services, and the complexity of the trauma these young people present demands a very high level of resilience and management supervision. This is echoed by colleagues in other services nationally, approaching the Tavistock for guidance and training support for their front line staff confronting the same issues. The service works closely with cultural advocates and interpreters running community outreach programmes for Afghani, Congolese, Somali and other communities
These thematic issues, including pathways to appropriate mental health support and access to health care needs for refugees, are to be explored in detail throughout the conference programme we have developed with a collaborators including MIND, the Refugee Council and Médecins du Monde.
Also of interest