Adolescent and young refugee perspectives on psychosocial well-being

Refugee children Refugee youth Public health Mental health Western Australia

This project examined psychosocial well-being from the perspective of refugee adolescents in four government schools in Perth, Western Australia. Focus group discussions were conducted with a total of 45 students from Intensive English Centres within the government schools. All students had entered Australia within the last two years under the refugee or special humanitarian visa categories. In addition, key informant interviews were conducted with IEC staff and support workers, appropriate government departments and community services.

The aims of the study were: first, to investigate perceptions and anxieties about escape, flight, migration, resettlement, acculturation and future goals; and second, to identify the multiple stressors that refugee adolescents and youth have to cope with during the process of acculturation. Here the researchers conversed about everyday experiences at school, struggles with language and skill acquisition and formation of emerging identities. Finally, recommendations for school-based strategies to promote psychosocial well-being among refugee adolescents were outlined and areas requiring further research were identified.

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