A high number of people from refugee backgrounds experience mental health issues as a result of previous experiences of trauma and torture as well as the many challenges associated with settlement.
Training opportunities exist for health providers wanting to develop their skills in working with people with mental health issues from refugee backgrounds. Two key Victorian providers are:
The recent introduction of the Better Access to Psychiatrists, Psychologists and GPs through the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) presents a number of opportunities to enhance access to mental services for refugees. However there is a need to ensure that access to fee-free interpreting is extended to allied health professionals to ensure access for people who have low English language proficiency.
The Victorian Department of Health (DH) has released a series of documents to support mental health promotion, available here. The DH document ‘Key concepts in mental health promotion: Supporting people promoting positive mental health’ noted that “Since many of the protective and risk factors for mental health and wellbeing are shared with other health issues, mental health can be directly or indirectly supported through a range of activity in other domains, such as improving health literacy, reducing alcohol misuse, improving educational outcomes or preventing violence”.