PERSPECTIVES OF MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES FOR REFUGEES IN THE U.S.: FOCUS ON RESETTLEMENT AGENCIES
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As of June 2020, there were nearly 71 million displaced persons worldwide fleeing their homes due to conflict and war (“Figures at a Glance,” UNHCR, 2020). One of the critical needs following displacement and subsequent resettlement is to address the immense psychological turmoil refugees may have endured. Despite the need for care, refugees often face barriers to accessing mental health care after resettlement, including inadequate translation services, poor provider cultural competence, and difficulty navigating services (Asgary & Segar, 2011). An important aspect in meeting the mental health needs of resettled refugees in the U.S. are the refugee resettlement agencies that help refugees rebuild their lives post-resettlement. Thus, this study focused on the mental health providers working with resettled refugees within refugee resettlement agencies. Through the use of mixed methods, this study collected quantitative and qualitative data across three phases to 1) obtain a greater understanding of the available mental health services within refugee resettlement agencies, 2) examine cultural competence in mental health providers working within these agencies, and 3) identify the culturally competent strategies mental health providers use to improve access to mental health services in this context. The results of this study, including an integration of the data across phases, and a discussion complete with 12 suggestions for mental health providers working with resettled refugees are presented. We hope the results and implications of this study will contribute to our understanding of, and subsequently address, the issues related to mental health service accessibility experienced by resettled refugees.