Immigrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers face a unique set of challenges in today’s world. In 2019, there were more than 70.8 million people forcibly displaced worldwide. Conflict and persecution for political, religious, racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual reasons lead migrants to seek safety and refuge in other countries. Notably, more than half of these migrants are children. Child migrants are an extremely vulnerable group, as they may face extreme stress and trauma before, during, and after migration. Recently, research has shown a higher prevalence of mental health disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, in migrants. However, there is a dearth of knowledge of the best interventions to treat child migrants with mental health disorders. Our team screened 854 articles by title and abstract from PubMed and SCOPUS to yield nine papers relevant for review. We extracted data measuring changes in functionality, PTSD symptoms, and depression symptoms as a result of nine unique interventions. The results of the review are promising. Eight of the studies found positive impacts on mental health outcomes as a result of the intervention. School-based interventions show particular promise for their comprehensiveness. In addition, trauma-focused individual therapies may be important components of improving PTSD. Cultural competence is a vital part of all interventions. To our knowledge, this is the first systematic review to evaluate interventions addressing mental health in migrant youth. The findings of this review have several implications for designing future interventions to mitigate the impact of mental health disorders on a vulnerable and understudied population.
Recommended CitationCox, MPH(c), Avery and Leader, DrPH, MPH, Amy, "Effective interventions for mental health disorders in child migrants: A rapid systematic review" (2020). Master of Public Health Thesis and Capstone Presentations. Presentation 342.