Therapies for refugees and asylum seekers

How is PTSD relevant to refugees and asylum seekers?

Over the past two decades, the number of forcibly displaced migrants has grown due to ongoing conflicts in countries around the world. Compared to the general population, refugees experience considerably higher levels of psychological distress due to major losses and exposure to events such as torture and war. Post-displacement stressors are also apparent, including those associated with resettlement, language barriers, and perceived stigma and discrimination. Any of these trauma exposures can contribute to higher rates of mental health conditions, including PTSD, depression, and anxiety.

What is the evidence on therapies for PTSD symptoms in refugees and asylum seekers?

Moderate quality evidence found a medium to large effect of improved PTSD symptoms with psychological therapies, particularly CBT with a trauma-focussed component, when compared to waitlist, treatment as usual, or no treatment. Depression and anxiety symptoms also improved with psychological therapies. These outcomes were maintained post-treatment (1-18 months). There were no differences in effectiveness for PTSD symptoms between individual and group interventions.

August 2021

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Last updated at: 6:47 am, 26th August 2021
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