Refugee mental health can be challenging work for mental health providers. Cultural differences, language barriers, and traumatic histories create special needs in many refugee populations. Beginning in 2010, Refugee Services spearheaded an effort to improve mental health services for refugees through a series of trainings for mental health providers, organized and facilitated by Sue Johnston, LICSW. This spring, Refugee Services hosted five trainings with over 70 participants and wait lists of up to 20! In three full-day and two half-day trainings, psychologists, clinical social workers, and other mental health providers learned about working with interpreters, conducting diagnostic assessments, treating victims of torture, and more. Guest presenters included expert psychologists, professional interpreters, representatives from refugee groups in the Twin Cities, as well as bi-cultural mental health providers from around the state.
The Refugee Mental Health trainings spread awareness of needs and best practices in refugee mental health, connected professionals to helpful resources, and opened up a discussion in the mental health community about how to provide the best help for refugee clients.
One participant commented: “The most helpful part of this training was] the reminder that working with refugees requires creativity and courage. All presenters were excellent- subject matter on DA [diagnostic assessment], diagnosis, medications, documentations, and role plays were all good.”
Due to the high demand, these trainings will be repeated once again in the fall. If you are interested in attending please contact Rachele King at Rachele.firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-230-3216.