Addressing Syrian refugee adolescents' mental health and wellbeing: Youth-informed policy implications
Keywords:Refugee Adolescent, Youth, Mental Health, Policy, Syria
Due to the conflict in Syria, Canada has welcomed over 40,000 Syrian refugees since 2015. Of those, approximately 52% were under the age of 19, falling into the adolescent age group. Adolescence is critical stage for social, psychological and biological development. As a result, many mental health challenges first emerge during this stage. Given the recent resettlement of Syrian refugees to Canada, it is essential that their mental health is appropriately addressed. This research examined potential policy changes that would help support the mental health and wellbeing of Syrian refugee adolescents given their conceptualizations of mental health. Data was collected from January to March 2018 using semi-structured interviews with Syrian refugee adolescents (n=7) and service providers (n=8) in the Greater Toronto Area. Data analysis was guided by grounded theory. The findings recommend youth-informed strategies for policy makers, service providers and researchers on how to effectively address Syrian adolescents’ mental health.
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