UK must tackle mental health needs of refugee children

July 17, 2003

More than a quarter of refugee children living in the UK have significant psychological disturbance, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

Researchers examined the rates of psychological disturbance in 101 refugee children attending six schools in Oxford and compared them with two control groups (children who were from an ethnic minority but were not refugees and indigenous white children).

More than a quarter of refugee children had significant psychological disturbance - greater than in both control groups and three times the national average. These refugee children show particular difficulties in emotional symptoms, write the authors.

These findings raise considerable concern that refugee children have large unmet mental health needs that need to be tackled, say the authors. The development of services should include collaboration with schools, primary health care, and community child mental health teams, they conclude.
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BMJ

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