Qatar Foundation International (QFI) has launched a new partnership with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health sponsoring a research project to assess the mental health and psychosocial needs of Arabic-speaking immigrant and refugee adolescents aged 13-17 who attend school.
The research will be conducted at up to seven US school-based sites. The school sample is currently being determined and the school sample will be finalised by December 2017.
This research is an important step in determining how schools can support immigrant children who arrive in the United States and are admitted in local schools. Immigrant children are often more likely than native-born children to be rated in “poor” or “fair” health, which can lead to worsening mental health and psychosocial outcomes for them. Additionally, since their families are unfamiliar with or unaware of the support systems in the US, they are less likely to access them.
“The migration process is especially hard on young people,” said Dr Carine Allaf, senior programmes adviser, QFI. “It could lead to depression, anxiety, and stress, and it may be worse if they were exposed to conflict before they left their home country or have interrupted formal schooling. We hope this research shows how we can better support students after they arrive here.”
“QFI is increasingly approached by partner schools and districts around the U.S. seeking assistance with the cultural and social transition as well as psychosocial needs,” said Maggie Mitchell Salem, executive director of QFI. “Our partnership with Columbia University will go far to determine how to best support these young people so that they can successfully adjust to their new home and thrive.”
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