Tennessee Mental Health Providers to Discuss Refugee Needs
A conference on Oct. 25 will teach more than 100 Nashville-area mental health providers how to "better understand" the mental health needs of refugees from "war-torn countries" who have been "steadily" settling in the Nashville area, the Nashville Tennessean reports. The conference, sponsored by Metro Social Services' Refugee Services Program and the Mental Health Association of Middle Tennessee, is a "major step toward coordinated, culturally sensitive assessment and treatment" in Middle Tennessee, the Tennessean reports. Each year the federal government sends hundreds of refugees to the area through contracts with two local placement agencies, World Relief and the Catholic Charities Refugee and Immigration Service. Many of the refugees come from countries with "inadequate or non-existent" mental health services and often experience the "stresses of creating a new life" after arriving. Common mental health problems in recent immigrants include depression among stay-at-home mothers and the elderly, as well as among professional men who "have trouble accepting their deflated status as they drop from respected positions in their former country to minimum wage work here." Refugees' mental health problems -- often compounded by incomplete diagnoses due to cultural and language barriers -- "can lead to poor job performance, instances of domestic abuse or juvenile delinquency," Dinah Gregory, program manager of the Metro Social Services' Refugee Services Program, said (Whitaker, Nashville Tennessean, 10/24).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.