Addressing the mental health needs of older adult refugees: Perspectives of multi-sector community key informants

Older adult refugees, in particular, may be at a unique risk but are underrepresented in public health promotion programs or research. When unaddressed, mental health issues can have long-term consequences for morbidity and early mortality among older adult refugees. Resettled refugees experience a high prevalence of mental health-related issues, such as depression, psychological distress, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) compared to their native-born counterparts.

A claim to dignity: Ageing on the move

There is little information on the situation of older persons on the move in the Latin American region. This regional evaluation is the first one to make a comprehensive analysis on the intersectionality between ageing and human mobility. The current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic is also analysed, including the worsening access to rights and services and the impact in their lives.

Policy on Age, Gender and Diversity Accountability

The purpose of this Policy is to reinforce UNHCR’s longstanding commitment to ensuring that people are at the centre of all that we do. This requires that we apply an age, gender, and diversity (AGD) approach to all aspects of our work. Through this Policy, we aim to ensure that persons of concern can enjoy their rights on an equal footing and participate meaningfully in the decisions that affect their lives, families, and communities.

Facilitator’s Guide: Working with older persons in forced displacement

To strengthen the capacities of UNHCR and its partners to achieve better lives for older peoples,  this  training  module  on  Strengthening  the  protection  of  older  persons  in  forced  displacement was developed in collaboration with HelpAge  International  to  provide  a  basic  introduction  about older age in the context of forced displacement. It analyses the protection concerns that older persons face in  these  situations  and  explores  strategies  that  can  be  used to mitigate them.

Older persons in forced displacement- intersecting risks

In 2017, 85% of displaced persons were hosted in developing regions5, where service systems, including services required by older persons, are already under pressure and capacity to scale up these systems is limited. Further, forcibly displaced older persons often face additional obstacles to integrating into their host communities, due to having fewer opportunities for participation and building of social networks, such as through education or work.

Older refugees – Integration Handbook

Older refugees face particular risks during displacement, and face additional barriers to access protection and assistance, including during resettlement and integration. Stakeholders involved throughout the integration process should develop a thorough understanding of the needs, capacities and barriers that older persons may face, and plan dedicated strategies to address them.

Practical guidelines on psychosocial health and wellbeing: Elderly refugees

These PRACTICAL GUIDELINES have been produced to support helpers in their work. This set of guidelines focuses on elderly people who, because of their age and associated health profiles, may be especially vulnerable to uprooting and forced displacement, and build on a long experience dealing with the psychosocial impact of conflicts and natural disasters. The elderly are a population that is often forgotten and neglected in conflict and other humanitarian settings. The guidelines are not meant to be prescriptive, but rather seek to provide ideas on how to respond to what are likely to be new circumstances, new questions and new demands.

Older persons

During times of displacement, older persons have urgent rights and needs. They can be particularly at risk of abuse and neglect during conflict or natural disasters, when a lack of mobility, diminished vision and chronic illnesses can make access to support difficult. Today, older refugees make up some 4 per cent of the overall population of concern to UNHCR, and by 2050 more of the world will be over 60 than under 12 years old.

Child Soldier Teaching Guide

Michel is like many other five-year-olds: he has a loving family and spends his days going to school and playing soccer. But in 1993, the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Michel and his family live, is a country in tumult. One afternoon, Michel and his friends are kidnapped by rebel militants and forced to become child soldiers. Child Soldier is the sometimes heartbreaking but ultimately inspiring true story of the triumph of the human spirit.

Child Soldiers. Care & Protection of Children in Emergencies – A Field Guide

The “Field Guide to Child Soldier Programs in Emergencies” is one in a series compiled by Save the Children (SC) as part of its Children and War Capacity Building Initiative. The SC Children in Crisis Unit developed this initiative in order to support SC staff in responding to the priority care and protection needs of children and adolescents during new emergencies and in situations of chronic armed conflict or displacement.

3 ways you can protect children in conflict zones

The scenes of heartbreak, chaos and ruin from conflict are gut-wrenching. It’s hard not to feel hopeless and helpless in the face of it. But, child sponsors around the world bring hope into some of humanity’s darkest hours – even when they don’t realise it. Here’s how. Bewildered kids clutching teddy bears and their mother’s hand. Tear on faces turned away. Bundles and backpacks clenched as a lifeline to a dislocated life.

How to help children cope with war trauma

But effects go beyond mental health. Children who had been exposed to bombing and combat in Germany during World War Two, for example, were more than twice as likely to suffer from a severe illness in their early sixties, possibly a result of an overburdened autonomic stress system. Other studies on German children living through the same war found that traumatic stress came with a higher risk of multiple poor health outcomes including hypertension, cardiovascular disease, asthma, back pain and even cancer. Some research indicates that such illnesses may even be transmitted to the next generation of children through epigenetic mechanisms.

Children in war and conflict

In this guide, you will find links to resources related to children and their experiences during war and large societal conflicts, and the after‐effects of these events on children. Resources include books, media reports, documentaries, newspapers and more. For further assistance, please contact the Museum’s Carte International Reference Centre

How to Talk with Children About the Conflict in Ukraine

As hostilities in Ukraine escalate, children may see and hear things about the crisis in the news, leading to feelings of uncertainty, anxiety and fear, which parents and caregivers need to address, Save the Children’s psychologists warn.

Here is how to talk to your children about conflict and war

During times of conflict and crisis, children, parents, caregivers experience anxiety and stress. More than ever, families should stand together, encourage, and support each other and strive to keep on one team – getting through these tough times together. As the family navigates through the tough times, children will always look up to adults – parents and caregivers for information, guidance, courage, support in all forms including love and hugs. They want a sense of safety and security. Here are some tips on how to approach the conversation with your child and to provide them with support and comfort.

How to talk to your children about conflict and war

When conflict or war makes the headlines, it can cause feelings such as fear, sadness, anger and anxiety wherever you live. Here are some tips on how to approach the conversation with your child and to provide them with support and comfort.

Summary Report from the International Workshop on “Building Knowledge to Improve Existing Service Responses for All Survivors”

This report presents a summary of discussions conducted during an international workshop “Building knowledge to improve existing service responses for all survivors – Developing a conceptual framework outlining the links between conflict-related sexual violence against men and boys, health sector and policy responses for conflict-affected populations” held in London, UK, on 11-12 October 2018 and co-organised by All Survivors Project (ASP) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).

Checklist on preventing and addressing conflict-related sexual violence against men and boys

The pervasive nature and appalling consequences of sexual violence against women and girls in situations of armed conflict is well established. Although women and girls are disproportionately affected, the extent to which conflict-related sexual violence impacts men and boys is also increasingly recognised. Rape and other forms of sexual violence involving males perpetrated by state security forces or non-state armed groups (NSAGs) has been documented in at least 30 different states affected by armed conflict in recent years.

Preventing Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in Detention Settings: Principles and Commentary

The pervasive nature and appalling consequences of sexual violence against women, men, girls, and boys, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI+) persons, in situations of armed conflict are well established. Detention settings are a key context of vulnerability to conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV), as noted by United Nations Security Council Resolution 2467 (2019).[1] These Principles aim to outline and clarify existing international law and standards to prevent and address CRSV in detention settings.

Responding to conflict-related sexual violence against boys associated with armed forces and armed groups in reintegration programmes

In the Central African Republic (CAR), thousands of children have been recruited and used by parties to armed conflict over the last decade, predominantly by non-State armed groups (NSAGs). According to UN reports, many girls have been recruited for a wide range of purposes, including sexual exploitation or otherwise subjected to sexual abuse during their association with the groups, with devastating consequences for the girls. As is the case elsewhere, far less is known about how sexual violence impacts boys associated with fighting forces, such as happens in CAR, and about the needs for care and support that may arise from it.

All Survivors Project

ASP seeks to complement and reinforce existing work on CRSV against women and girls, recognising the disproportionate impact of CRSV on them and the way in which gendered inequalities, institutions and identities drive this form of violence. Our work with men and boys is aimed at enlarging the scope of research, analysis, action and responses to prevent and support victims/survivors to include those who are not always easily identified or supported within existing action on CRSV.

Why is Cultural Competence Important in Mental Health Care?

Cultural competency means that, as a provider, you are able to interact effectively with people of different cultures, by incorporating their unique beliefs, behaviors, and needs into their diagnosis and treatment plan. Simply put, a culturally competent mental health care provider is able to consider how someone’s culture, race, and ethnicity may influence their mental health, and the best way to treat them.

About minorities and human rights

An ethnic, religious or linguistic minority is any group of persons which constitutes less than half of the population in the entire territory of a State whose members share common characteristics of culture, religion or language, or a combination of any of these.

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Mental Health Care: Evidence and Policy Implications

In the mental health arena, unlike general health, health care disparities predominate over disparities in mental health per se. Strategies to improve health care in general, such as improving access to care and improving the quality of care, would do much to eliminate mental health care disparities. However, a diverse mental health workforce, as well as provider and patient education, are important to eliminating mental health care disparities.

Supporting the Mental Health of Minorities

Sexual, gender and ethnic minorities have faced significant health-related difficulties, especially in terms of mental health. In the past decade, many studies have been published focusing on the mental health scenario for these groups. There is a need to develop and implement various initiatives, including social support groups, to provide discrimination-free assistance.

Mental Health of Children of Immigrants and Ethnic Minorities in Europe

This paper aims to review immigration trends in Europe and identify problems and needs of immigrant and ethnic minority children and youth with respect to mental health services.

Psychological Treatment of Ethnic Minority Populations

The call for cultural competence in mental health practice has been a frequent theme voiced by the four major ethnic minority psychological associations. In an effort to address concerns and provide assistance to service providers, these four associations have produced this booklet, Psychological Treatment of Ethnic Minority Populations.

Digital Technology for Building Capacity of Non-specialist Health Workers for Task-Sharing and Scaling Up Mental Health Care Globally

In this perspectives article, we consider the potential that digital technology holds for supporting non-specialist health workers in delivering evidence-based mental health care. Specifically, from our search of the academic literature, we identified seven promising examples from primary care settings in different low-income and middle-income countries (including India, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Peru, China, and Nigeria) where digital platforms are being used to support delivery of mental health care from a variety of non-specialist providers by offering training, digital tools for diagnosis, guiding treatment, facilitating supervision, and integrating services. We summarize these examples and discuss future opportunities to use digital technology for supporting the development of a trained, effective, and sustainable mental health workforce. We also consider the potential to leverage these technologies for integrating mental health care into existing health systems in low resource settings.

Video. Launch: Supporting helpers in their work with survivors Supporting helpers in their work with survivors of sexual violence

After several years of working with the manual on sexual violence against women in war and conflict situations, we at MHHRI are proud to introduce these two new manuals. These manuals represent an important tool for helpers and caregivers working with children, boys and men who have survived sexual abuse in war, conflict, humanitarian crises and contexts with limited resources.

Our aim with the manuals is to provide practical guidance for helpers on how best to support and help boys, men and children who have experienced sexual violence in various challenging situations. The manuals deal with different aspects of these topics, how traumatic events affect the mental health of those exposed, as well as practical approaches and tools that can be used to meet their psychological needs.

The well-being guide: reduce stress, recharge and build inner resilience

This well being guide is for individual self-care, and for peers and teams who work together. Each section can be tested or incorporated within regular meetings with a focus on caring for the carers. Humanitarians and people working in helping professions need to take care of themselves in order not to burn out and to be effective in their work. The exercises in this guide are for all humanitarian staff, volunteers and for recipients of mental health and psychosocial support services. If practised and used regularly, this catalogue of tried and practised tools can regulate stress, calm when distressed, promote sleep, and strengthen inner resilience. This guide is available in Ukrainian, Arabic, Portuguese, Bosnian and French.

Save the Children Psychological First Aid Training Manual for Child Practitioners with additional resources.

The Psychological First Aid Training Manual for Child Practitioners (PFA) was developed by Save the Children Denmark for the Child Protection Initiative, to facilitate training in psychological first aid with a focus on children. It is aimed at developing skills and competences that will help child protection staff reduce the initial distress of children who have recently been exposed to a traumatic event. The training targets Save the Childrens staff, partners, and professionals such as teachers, educators, health and social workers etc., and volunteers working directly with children in emergencies or in the aftermath of conflicts, natural disasters and critical events. It is available in English, French, Spanish, and Arabic.

Psychological first aid II, Dealing with traumatic responses in children, part II

The PFA II, Dealing with traumatic responses in children manual provides guidance for staff working with children who are severely affected psychologically by acute crisis. It is not a clinical tool and does not in itself qualify staff to engage in clinical interventions. Save the Children’s Psychological First Aid Training for Child Practitioners, which is currently being rolled out in several regions, lays the foundation for providing PFA as a basic psychological support. The manual is available in both English and Arabic.

Two-day Psychological First Aid Training for Child Practitioners, part I

The PFA one-day programme manual is a condensed psychological first aid training based on the original two-day Psychological First Aid Training for Child Practitioners. It builds on adaptations of this manual in Japan, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. This training offers child practitioners skills and competencies to reduce the initial distress of children caused by accidents, natural disasters, conflicts, and other critical incidents. The program is available in both English and Arabic.

A Short Introduction to Psychological First Aid

Psychological first aid is a simple, yet powerful way of helping someone in distress. It involves paying attention to the person’s reactions, active listening and if relevant, practical assistance to help address immediate problems and basic needs. Learning psychological first aid skills and understanding reactions to crises empowers helpers to help others and apply the same skills to their own lives.  A Short Introduction to Psychological First Aid (PFA) contains chapters about What is PFA, Who needs PFA and How to provide PFA. It also contains a short introduction to PFA for children and PFA in Groups.

A Guide to Psychological First Aid

Psychological First Aid for Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has been developed for the staff and volunteers of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and other organizations working in situations where psychological first aid (PFA) may be relevant. Psychological first aid is a direct response and set of actions to help someone in distress. It is an approach to helping that is particularly well-suited for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, as it is based on the fundamental principle of humanity and the intention to help prevent and alleviate human suffering. (In English, Dari, Arabic, French, Japanese, Chinese, and Ukrainian)

The Psychological First Aid for Schools Field Operations Guide

Psychological First Aid for Schools (PFA-S) is an evidence-informed intervention model to assist students, families, school personnel, and school partners in the immediate aftermath of an emergency. PFA-S is designed to reduce the initial distress caused by emergencies, and to foster short- and long-term adaptive functioning and coping.

Trauma-Informed Teaching Strategies

Traumatized students are especially prone to difficulty in self-regulation, negative thinking, being on high alert, difficulty trusting adults, and inappropriate social interactions (Lacoe, 2013; Terrasi & de Galarce, 2017). They often haven’t learned to express emotions healthily and instead show their distress through aggression, avoidance, shutting down, or other off-putting behaviors. These actions can feel antagonistic to teachers who don’t understand the root cause of the student’s behavior, which can lead to misunderstandings, ineffective interventions, and missed learning time.
Neurobiologically, students can’t learn if they don’t feel safe, known, and cared for within their schools (Aupperle et al., 2012). When teachers are proactive and responsive to the needs of students suffering from traumatic stress and make small changes in the classroom that foster a feeling of safety, it makes a huge difference in their ability to learn.

Guidelines for gender-based violence interventions in humanitarian settings

We also know that in times of crises and disaster there is an increased level of violence, in particular gender-based violence (GBV). GBV is a serious problem in the context of complex emergencies and natural disasters where normal structures of society are seriously affected and alternative safeguards not yet in place. Women and children are often targets of abuse and are the most vulnerable to exploitation, violence, and abuse simply because of their gender, age, and status in society. Women and girls that are displaced from their homes will often experience multiple traumatic experiences.

Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support

Guideline by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Rates of mental health problems often increase during natural disasters, war and conflict, and pre-existing disorders may also resurface or be exacerbated by conflict or violence. Although people with mental health disorders constitute a particularly vulnerable group, they are often neglected. Chapter 7 concerns people affected by emergencies.