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The mental health and help‑seeking behaviour of resettled Afghan refugees in Australia

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Slewa-Younan, S, Yaser, A, Guarjardo, MGU, Mannan, H, Smith, CA and Mond, JM ORCID: 0000-0002-0410-091X 2017 , 'The mental health and help‑seeking behaviour of resettled Afghan refugees in Australia' , International journal of mental health systems, vol. 11 , pp. 1-8 , doi: 10.1186/s13033-017-0157-z.

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Abstract

Background: Psychological trauma, in particular, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, are highlyprevalent among resettled refugees. However, little is known regarding the mental health status and associated helpseekingbehaviour of resettled Afghan refugees in Australia.Methods: A sample of 150 resettled Afghan refugees (74 males; mean age 32.8 years, SD = 12.2) living in Adelaide,South Australia were recruited. Self-reported measures of PTSD, depression, exposure to traumatic events, functionalimpairment, self-recognition of PTSD symptomatology and help-seeking behaviours were completed. Multivariateanalysis of variables associated with help-seeking was conducted.Results: Forty-four percent of participants met criteria for clinically signifcant PTSD symptoms and all but one par‑ticipant reported being exposed to 1 or more traumatic and/or confict related events, such as ‘losing your propertyand wealth’. Moreover, 14.7% of participants had symptoms suggestive of clinically signifcant depression. Generalpractitioners were the most common source of help in relation to mental health problems, with very few participants(4.6%) seeking help from specialist trauma and torture mental health services. Self-recognition of having a PTSDrelated mental health problem and functional impairment levels were both found to be independent predictors ofhelp-seeking (p ≤ .05).Conclusions: The fndings provide further evidence for high rates of PTSD symptomatology and low uptake of men‑tal care among resettled refugees. Poor self-recognition of the presence and/or adverse impact of PTSD symptomsmay need to be targeted in mental health promotion programs designed to improve “mental health literacy” andthereby promote early and appropriate help-seeking where this is needed.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Slewa-Younan, S and Yaser, A and Guarjardo, MGU and Mannan, H and Smith, CA and Mond, JM
Keywords: Refugees, Afghanistan, Mental health, Trauma, Help-seeking
Journal or Publication Title: International journal of mental health systems
Publisher: BioMed Central
ISSN: 1752-4458
DOI / ID Number: 10.1186/s13033-017-0157-z
Copyright Information:

© 2017 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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