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School‐based mental health service for refugee and asylum seeking children: multi‐agency working, lessons for good practice

Anna Chiumento (Support Worker at The Haven Project, Liverpool, UK)
Julia Nelki (Consultant Child and Adolescent Child Psychiatrist at Chester Eating Disorder Service, Liverpool, UK)
Carl Dutton (Haven Projects' Lead Therapist, Liverpool, UK)
Georgina Hughes (Senior Art Psychotherapist, The Haven Project, Liverpool, UK)

Journal of Public Mental Health

ISSN: 1746-5729

Article publication date: 16 September 2011

Abstract

Purpose

Following a description of the Haven Project: a school based Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) for refugee children in Liverpool, this paper aims to raise awareness of a multiagency model for replication across community mental health services.

Design/methodology/approach

Using semi‐structured interviews with school head teachers and outcome measures of group therapeutic sessions, a short service review has been conducted, set against background literature, identifying refugee statistics and highlighting mental health policy imperatives that advocate multi‐agency working.

Findings

The findings illustrate that refugee children are more likely and prefer to access a school based mental health service than a CAMH clinic. Links between schools and CAMHS facilitate mutual understanding of different agencies working in the interests of all children and, using outcome measures and quotes, the evidence indicates that the service achieves its aim: improvement in refugee children's mental health.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations to the findings are recognised in the small numbers presented, methodological restrictions, and the lack of routinely collated statistics on refugee populations.

Originality/value

Combining description and evaluation, this paper appraises service design and delivery methods to present an overview with policy and practice implications; addressing key mental health and public health policy priorities; and exemplifying multiagency collaboration between the health and education sector to meet the needs of an often invisible and neglected group: refugee children. It is anticipated this information will inform future service design, meeting policy priorities and the needs of service users as an accessible and responsive way to deliver CAMHS to vulnerable populations.

Keywords

Citation

Chiumento, A., Nelki, J., Dutton, C. and Hughes, G. (2011), "School‐based mental health service for refugee and asylum seeking children: multi‐agency working, lessons for good practice", Journal of Public Mental Health, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 164-177. https://doi.org/10.1108/17465721111175047

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited