Integrated behavioral health care for Karen refugees: a qualitative exploration of active ingredients

Jennifer J. Esala (University of Colorado at Denver, Aurora, Colorado, USA)
Leora Hudak (The Center for Victims of Torture, St Paul, Minnesota, USA)
Alyce Eaton (The Center for Victims of Torture, St Paul, Minnesota, USA)
Maria Vukovich (The Center for Victims of Torture, St Paul, Minnesota, USA)

International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care

ISSN: 1747-9894

Publication date: 11 June 2018

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the “active ingredients” of integrated behavioral health care (IBHC) from the perspective of Karen refugee participants in an IBHC intervention.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is based on in-depth, semi-structured interviews with participants (n=40) who have received an IBHC intervention for one year. These qualitative data are supplemented by descriptive quantitative data from those same participants.

Findings

This research suggested that IBHC increased awareness and access to behavioral health services, and that IBHC may be especially amenable to treating complex health conditions. The research also found that IBHC provided a point of regular contact for patients who had limited time with their primary care providers, which helped to enhance access to and engagement with health care.

Practical implications

IBHC has the potential to meet the complex needs of Karen resettled refugees living in an urban setting in the USA.

Originality/value

IBHC is a promising approach to help meet the mental health needs of refugees in the USA. There are, however, gaps in knowledge about the “active ingredients” of IBHC. This paper helps fill these gaps by studying how IBHC works from the perspective of a group of Karen refugees; these are critical perspectives, missing in the literature, which must be heard in order to better address the complex conditions and needs of resettled refugees.

Keywords

Citation

Jennifer J. Esala, Leora Hudak, Alyce Eaton and Maria Vukovich (2018) "Integrated behavioral health care for Karen refugees: a qualitative exploration of active ingredients", International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, Vol. 14 No. 2, pp. 133-145

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DOI

: https://doi.org/10.1108/IJMHSC-10-2017-0043

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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