Professional support in mental health care for refugees in Flanders.
Via a comprehensive range of high-quality educational and training courses, the Koning Boudewijn Stichting hopes to promote and develop the skills of all national players who are in some way involved with the mental heath of refugees. The professional support of these players must lead to the prevention, early detection and accessible and efficient psychological treatment of child and/or adult refugees.
Fleeing from conflict or post-conflict zones, migration, the asylum procedure, culture shock and the acculturation process are all potential circumstances which, when they come together and overlap, allow to use the term ‘trauma’ (in the broad sense of the word) when we speak about the vast majority of refugees. Fortunately, we can also speak of resilience: the potential that each of us possesses to continue to grow and develop, despite unfortunate circumstances. Nevertheless, this potential still has to be actively addressed, especially with those who employ survival mechanisms as a result of the “abnormal” circumstances around them. It is often indirect players in the field of mental health care or the so-called preliminary and primary care who are in a position to address this resilience, to build up a network around the refugee to encourage resilience, and also to detect at an early stage psychological issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
Trauma that not dealt with is expensive. It not only influences the life of the person who is experiencing it, but also those around him or her. Trauma is also costly for society on several different fronts: social, societal, financial and economic. A higher level of expertise of the players in the field of mental health care must lead to more targeted preventative and accessible therapeutic interventions, so both the suffering on an individual level and the costs on a societal level can be avoided.
Solentra has consolidated the content of the educational and training courses within this project on 8 fact sheets which address the core topics concerning refugee mental health. The fact sheets are the result of a collaboration between Solentra and a number of professionals in the field, namely Geertrui Serneels, Koen Van Praet, Birsin Taspinar, Winny Ang and Stéphanie De Maesschalck. They were realised with the financial support of the Koning Boudewijn Stichting.
- Culturally sensitive care
- The PACCT® method
- Psycho-social first aid
- Language support
- Trauma in refugees
- The perception of sickness and culture
- Care for the carer: self-care
Solentra would also like to thank the Koning Boudewijn Stichting for the faith it has shown by taking on a leading role.