Provider Perspectives of Services Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Resettled Refugee Youth

Shandra S. Forrest-Bank, Mary L. Held, Aubrey Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


A range of services are provided to assist resettled refugees with meeting their basic needs and supporting their integration in the United States. The inability to adequately assess and address the mental health needs among youth in this population is a concern raised by service providers who work with resettled refugees. The current study aimed to gain the perspectives of those who serve this population about the strengths and barriers to mental health services addressing the needs of resettled refugee youth. We conducted individual interviews and applied inductive qualitative methods to identify themes. Supplemental survey data were collected as well; descriptive findings are integrated into the themes. Analysis resulted in six themes. Refugee youth service providers observe high levels of resilience and positive development among youth who engage in programs, in addition to concerns that many refugee youth might not be thriving nor accessing adequate services. Providers’ recommendations for best practices focus mainly on cultural competence and engagement with youth in the context of their families, communities, and groups, and less on individual counseling. A depth of nuance and complexity regarding language and cultural barriers. Results contribute greater understanding and credence to the importance for improving the capacity to recognize and intervene in refugee youth mental health needs. Offers important insight for assessment of refugee youth programs and well-being, enhancing youth services, and approaching further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)669-684
Number of pages16
JournalChild and Adolescent Social Work Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Mental health
  • Positive youth development
  • Refugee youth
  • System of care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • General Social Sciences


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