Protection of Refugees’ Mental Health: Systemic Approach

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With regard to the World Mental Health Day, together with colleagues from Commissariat for Refugees and Migrations of Republic of Serbia, World Health Organization, UNHCR, Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Policy of Republic of Serbia and Institute of Public Health of Serbia, PIN presented activities that were conducted in the previous year aiming to systemically improve protection of refugees’ mental health in Serbia. In addition, on this occasion we presented results of studies on refugees’ mental health and experiences within the asylum procedure, PIN conducted with the support of UNHCR.

We would like to thank to all panelists for valuable discussion, Commissariat for Refugees and Migrations of Republic of Serbia, Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veteran and Social Policy of Republic of Serbia, Open Society Foundation, UNHCR and World Health Organization  for their support in project realization, and everyone who participated in mentioned activities, thus supporting PIN’s work.

We are very much looking forward to continuing joint work towards systemic improvements of refugees’ mental health protection!

For more information on implemented activities follow Towards the Improvement of Protection of Mental Health of Refugees in SerbiaThe Study on Prevalence of Burnout and Secondary Traumatization in Service Providers Working With Refugees in Serbia

For more information on this year studies on refugee’s mental health and experiences within the asylum procedure follow Psychological wellbeing of refugees and asylum seekers in Serbia

”Social Trauma and Forced Migration”

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We are pleased to present you with an international strategic document, in which we have had the honor to participate. The document refers to the topic of social trauma and forced migration, and it provides recommendations for good practice in the field of integration, education and mental health. The document was created at the International Psychoanalytical University of Berlin (IPU Berlin), within the network “Migration-Trauma in Transition”, that is supported by DAAD.

You can read and download the document here.

“Mental Health of Refugees and Migrants”

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On Thursday 18 April at the Media Centre, Belgrade a public presentation was organised of the results of a research on Mental Health of Refugees and Migrants. The research was conducted by the Red Cross of Serbia in partnership with Psychosocial Innovation Network (PIN) with financial support provided by International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Norwegian Red Cross.

Speakers at the press conference included Ljubomir Miladinovic, Secretary General of the Red Cross of Serbia, Alvaro Carmona Corrales (IFRC), Jovana Bjekic, PhD psychologist (PIN) and Natasa Todorovic, psychologist, Red Cross of Serbia.

Mental health issues and disorders are one of the leading public health problems worldwide and refugees and migrants are an especially vulnerable group in this regard.

Red Cross of Serbia Secretary General spoke about many years of experience that the National Society has in providing psychosocial support services and that this kind of support is important for building resilience of individuals, families and communities. As part of the activities and programmes targeting refugees and migrants the Red Cross of Serbia conducted initial assessment of mental health in order to identify those beneficiaries who need additional support, as well as to adapt the programmes to population indicators on psychological vulnerability of beneficiaries at different locations across Serbia.

The Federation representative, Alvaro Carmona Corrales talked about the significance of the Red Cross work in this field.

Jovana Bjekic of PIN presented the data collected in the period between December 2018 and February 2019 using the sample of more than 200 beneficiaries and the data shows that 72.5% of refugees and migrants is psychologically vulnerable with the most frequent issues being the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (14.2%), depression (28.6%) and anxiety (18.9%) with 48% displaying signs of acute anxiety and other psychological issues.

Natasa Todorovic, the Red Cross of Serbia expert, presented the recommendations for improving mental health of refugees and migrants and the ways the Red Cross can use its global network for advocacy. In order to make advocacy successful it is necessary to regularly collect data on mental health and well-being of refugees and migrants, as well as to include them in implementation and designing psychosocial activities.


Source: Red Cross Serbia

Empirical Studies in Psychology

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We are proud that we had the opportunity to be part of a conference Empirical Studies in Psychology and present some of the research work done in PIN. We talked about Coping with secondary trauma in professionals working with refugees, Psychometric properties and factor structure of Refugee Health Screener, Common difficulties and the need for psychological support among people with diabetes.
On this occasion, we would like to thank the committee of the conference for its excellent organization and program, as well as our partner UNHCR Serbia, for supporting realization of some of the above mentioned research.

You can read more about presented research here.