Guideline Categories:

Mental Health:

  1. Culture, Context and the Mental Health and Psychosocial Wellbeing of Syrians (registration required): These e-learning modules are designed for mental health and psychosocial support professionals, including family physicians. The following four modules are included: 1) Introduction, 2) Mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of Syrians affected by the crisis: a brief overview, culturally sensitive assessments, 3) Culturally Sensitive Services for mental health and psychosocial support and 4) Challenges. The modules are offered free of charge and are self-directed.
  2. The Refugee Mental Health Online Courses: Focus on Syrian Refugees: Offered by the Refugee Mental Health Project (coordinated by the CAMH), these accredited online modules provide evidence-based training to health care professionals and settlement and social service providers on supporting the mental health of refugee and newcomer populations. The courses also offer the opportunity to exchange information and share resources with service providers across Canada. They are free of charge to service providers, are self-directed, and are typically six weeks long.
  3. Best Practice Guidelines for Mental Health Promotion Programs – RefugeesThis Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) booklet provides information on mental health promotion for refugee populations. The authors discuss factors affecting mental health promotion in refugees, such as socioeconomic determinants and cultural stigma. Several guidelines are outlined within the document and are intended to assess risk factors, provide training to health care providers or support workers as well as intervention approaches. Recommended mental assistance programs are also provided.
  4. Common Mental Health Problems in Immigrants and Refugees – General Approach to Primary CareThis review summarizes the common challenges in Canadian migrant mental health (e.g. communication difficulties, the effect of cultural shaping of symptoms/illness behaviour, differences in family structure and process, aspects of acceptance by the receiving society, etc.), and discusses the potential strategies for redressing such issues (e.g. through specific inquiry, the use of trained interpreters and culture brokers, meetings with families, and consultation with community organizations).
  5. The Refugee Mental Health ToolkitThis toolkit is a repository of resources compiled to support service providers in appropriately responding to the mental health needs of refugees. It is meant to be an online resource for information, ideas, tools and materials for settlement, social service and health care providers as they assist clients in developing awareness of mental health issues, encourage help-seeking and deal with stigma.
  6. Mental Health Promotion: Describes how mental health promotion and counseling can reduce inequities and increase resilience among newcomers. Discusses how to address newcomer-specific barriers to care and describes how the presentation of mental health problems differs by age.
  7. Guidelines for Mental Health Screening During the Domestic Medical Examination for Recently Arrived Refugees: CDC guidelines for screening newly arrived refugees for mental health concerns including PTSD and depression, as well as impairment-related action plans.
  8. Minnesota Refugee Health Provider Guide- Refugee Mental Health: This guide details the process of assessment for mental health issues during the refugee health assessment. Treatment strategies are also described and additional related resources are available
  9. Refugees’ Advice to Physicians: How to Ask about Mental Health : Qualitative study presenting the perspective of refugees on how they would like mental health addressed in the clinic. The document includes actionable recommendations for providers.
  10. Refugee Health Screener-15 Packet: The Refugee Health Screener-15 (RHS-15) Packet is a tool that can be used to screen refugees for emotional stress and mental health. This PDF packet includes the RHS-15 tool, background, and guidelines for use.
  11. Depression: Describes the prevalence, etiology, and risk factors among newcomer youth and describes clinical presentation and somatization by culture. Provides recommendations on diagnosis, screening, treatment, monitoring, and discussing mental health.
  12. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Describes the prevalence of PTSD among refugees, duration and resilience to PTSD, presentation and diagnosis, psychiatric comorbidities, how to discuss PTSD with newcomers, and treatment options.
  13. The Cross-Cultural Validity of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: Implications for DSM-5: This study examines the validity and limitations of using the “westernized” terminology and categorization of PTSD to evaluate refugees.
  14. Substance Abuse and Immigrant Youth: Describes the epidemiology of substance abuse among immigrant youth, including risk and protective factors. The page presents barriers to treatment, guidelines for screening, diagnosis, and prevention, and links to treatment services.

Child Development:

  1. Child Development- Issues and Assessment: Presents guidelines on addressing developmental delay in newcomer children: exploring attitudes of families toward development, diseases with development sequelae, clinical tools and timeline to monitor development, suggestions on when to begin school, and referral to supports.
  2. Developmental Disability Across Cultures: Defines culture and how different cultures interact with the perception, understanding, and treatment of developmental disabilities. Describes how healthcare providers can approach the topic with families and explore supports.
  3. Culturally Effective Care Toolkit- Behavior and Child Development: This toolkit, developed by the American Association of Pediatrics, includes a summary and a list of practical resources to support providers in promoting child behavior and development while understanding and respecting the norms and beliefs of diverse families.
  4. Language Acquisition in Immigrant and Refugee Children- First Language Use and Bilingualism: Describes how to assess language competence in the first language or both languages, strategies on supporting bilingualism in the home and where the second language should be used, and when to consider a language disorder.
  5. Prenatal Risk Factors for Developmental Delay in Newcomer Children: Explores the prenatal (infection, chronic illness, toxin exposure, malnutrition) and perinatal (birth complications and infections) causes of developmental delay. Includes guidelines for screening and prevention during pregnancy.
  6. School and Education: Explores how parental factors, school resources, and differing skill sets influence success in school. Offers guidelines on how physicians can elicit academic or learning concerns and refer to supports.
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