Important considerations when providing mental health first aid to Iraqi refugees in Australia: A Delphi study

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Abstract

Background: Refugees are one of the most vulnerable groups in Australian society, presenting high levels of exposure to traumatic events and consequently high levels of severe psychological distress. While there is a need for professional help, only a small percentage will receive appropriate care for their mental health concerns. This study aimed to determine cultural considerations required when providing mental health first aid to Iraqi refugees experiencing mental health problems or crises. Method: Using a Delphi method, 16 experts were presented with statements about possible culturally-appropriate first aid actions via questionnaires and were encouraged to suggest additional actions not covered by the questionnaire content. Statements were accepted for inclusion in a guideline if they were endorsed by ≥90 % of panellists as 'Essential' or 'Important'. Results: From a total of 65 statements, 38 were endorsed (17 for cultural awareness, 12 for cross-cultural communication, 7 for stigma associated with mental health problems, and 2 for barriers to seeking professional help). Conclusion: Experts were able to reach consensus about how to provide culturally-appropriate first aid for mental health problems to Iraqi refugees, demonstrating the suitability of this methodology in developing cultural considerations guidelines. This specific refugee study provided potentially valuable cultural knowledge required to better equip members of the Australian public on how to respond to and assist Iraqi refugees experiencing mental health problems or crises.

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APA

Uribe Guajardo, M. G., Slewa-Younan, S., Santalucia, Y., & Jorm, A. F. (2016). Important considerations when providing mental health first aid to Iraqi refugees in Australia: A Delphi study. International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 10(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13033-016-0087-1

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