Mental Health of Refugee Children and Youth: Epidemiology, Interventions, and Future Directions

Rochelle L. Frounfelker, Diana Miconi, Jordan Farrar, Mohamad Adam Brooks, Cécile Rousseau, Theresa S. Betancourt (2020)

Annual Review of Public Health

41 | 159-176

The number of refugee youth worldwide receives international attention and is a top priority in both academic and political agendas. This article adopts a critical eye in summarizing current epidemiological knowledge of refugee youth mental health as well as interventions aimed to prevent or reduce mental health problems among children and adolescents in both high- and low-to-middle-income countries. We highlight current challenges and limitations of extant literature and present potential opportunities and recommendations in refugee child psychiatric epidemiology and mental health services research for moving forward. In light of the mounting xenophobic sentiments we are presently witnessing across societies, we argue that, as a first step, all epidemiological and intervention research should advocate for social justice to guarantee the safety of and respect for the basic human rights of all refugee populations during their journey and resettlement. A constructive dialogue between scholars and policy makers is warranted.