Schools have critical role to play in supporting adolescents fleeing armed conflict

October 24, 2019

October 24, 2019 -- Communities in high income countries around the world continue to receive record-setting numbers of newcomers fleeing armed conflict. Although education is known to be highly important for refugee and migrant children, relatively little is known about the diversity of associated school-based programs and their likely value in supporting the mental health and psychosocial well-being of the children living in high income countries. A scoping review co-authored by Michael Wessells, PhD, Mailman School professor in Population and Family Health's Program on Forced Migration and Health, reviewed 20 school-based programs aimed at improving the mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of adolescent forced migrants in high-income countries from 2000 to 2019. Wessells and colleagues found school-based interventions have great potential for preventing adverse mental health outcomes among girls and boys affected by armed conflict and displacement.

The findings are published online in Social Science & Medicine.

"Our review showed that despite recurring challenges, many girls and boys manage to adjust to their new lives," noted Wessells. "Up to now, there was little discussion in the literature on how school-based programs for refugees and immigrants actually achieve holistic support for refugee and migrant children and how they enable educators, children, and families to navigate the social and cultural complexities associated with children's and families' movement to high income countries."

The review was conducted to provide a more comprehensive picture of current school-based approaches to improve the health and wellbeing of adolescent forced migrants.

Among the findings:"These programs showcase the abilities of schools to identify and monitor student needs, provide or connect with holistic supports for refugee and migrant adolescents, and contribute to continuity of care," said Wessells, who noted that partnerships were central to most elements of the programs reviewed.
Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

Founded in 1922, the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health pursues an agenda of research, education, and service to address the critical and complex public health issues affecting New Yorkers, the nation and the world. The Columbia Mailman School is the third largest recipient of NIH grants among schools of public health. Its over 450 multi-disciplinary faculty members work in more than 100 countries around the world, addressing such issues as preventing infectious and chronic diseases, environmental health, maternal and child health, health policy, climate change & health, and public health preparedness. It is a leader in public health education with over 1,300 graduate students from more than 40 nations pursuing a variety of master's and doctoral degree programs. The Columbia Mailman School is also home to numerous world-renowned research centers, including ICAP and the Center for Infection and Immunity. For more information, please visit

Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health

Related Mental Health Articles from Brightsurf:

Mental health strained by disaster
A new study found that suicide rates increase during all types of disasters -- including severe storms, floods, hurricanes and ice storms -- with the largest overall increase occurring two years after a disaster.

The mental health impact of pandemics for front line health care staff
New research shows the impact that pandemics have on the mental health of front-line health care staff.

World Mental Health Day -- CACTUS releases report of largest researcher mental health survey
On the occasion of 'World Mental Health Day' 2020, CACTUS, a global scientific communications company, has released a global survey on mental health, wellbeing and fulfilment in academia.

Mental illness, mental health care use among police officers
A survey study of Texas police officers examines how common mental illness and mental health care use are in a large urban department.

COVID-19 outbreak and mental health
The use of online platforms to guide effective consumption of information, facilitate social support and continue mental health care delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic is discussed in this Viewpoint.

COVID-19 may have consequences for mental health
The COVID-19 pandemic appears to be adversely affecting mental health among hospitalised patients, the healthcare professionals treating them and the general population.

Mental health outcomes among health care workers during COVID-19 pandemic in Italy
Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and insomnia among health care workers in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic are reported in this observational study.

Mental ill health 'substantial health concern' among police, finds international study
Mental health issues among police officers are a 'substantial health concern,' with around 1 in 4 potentially drinking at hazardous levels and around 1 in 7 meeting the criteria for post traumatic stress disorder and depression, finds a pooled data analysis of the available international evidence, published online in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Examining health insurance nondiscrimination policies with mental health among gender minority individuals
A large private health insurance database was used to examine the association between between health insurance nondiscrimination policies and mental health outcomes for gender minority individuals.

Mental health care for adolescents
Researchers examined changes over time in the kinds of mental health problems for which adolescents in the United States received care and where they got that care in this survey study with findings that should be interpreted within the context of several limitations including self-reported information.

Read More: Mental Health News and Mental Health Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to