Socioeconomic and Political Determinants of Refugee Mental Health

Date
2019-01
Authors
Kharbat, Abdurrahman F.
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Abstract

The refugee crisis in the Middle East is the largest and most pressing displacement crisis of our time. As the crisis unfolds, it is clear that a majority of asylum seekers and refugees are encumbered by mental health stress due to the traumas suffered throughout the conflicts they fled. It is crucial to understand the socioeconomic and political determinants of mental health that refugees are subjected to through displacement in order to elevate the quality of healthcare and to pursue better mental health outcomes. Refugees contribute to host nations’ workforces, whilst endeavoring to integrate into their societies. Yet mental health stress and its stigma hinder the rehabilitation of those who fled persecution. Establishing a better understanding of refugee mental health allows healthcare professionals and policy makers to provide better care for these populations by developing effective measures that support rehabilitation. The aim of this study is to analyze the socioeconomic and political determinants of mental health of refugees in the Middle East through a review of the existing literature, in conjunction with my observations and experiences serving as a medical assistant in U.N. High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) clinics in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Results indicate that mental stress affects refugees not only during the course of displacement, but also during the asylum seeking process, further demonstrating a need for revised measures. Therefore, I suggest future directions in healthcare protocols and policy making that would improve the quality of life and the mental health of refugees and asylum seekers.

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