Online program helps traumatised refugees overcome mental health stigma

Online program helps traumatised refugees overcome mental health stigma
Before the ‘Tell Your Story’ program, there was no intervention to particularly scale back mental health stigma in refugees. Credit: Shutterstock

A world-first intervention for refugee males who are suffering from PTSD has proven promise in a trial, encouraging them to get assist.

An on-line intervention by UNSW Sydney scientists, in partnership with Settlement Services International (SSI), has efficiently helped traumatised refugee males overcome the stigma related to post-traumatic stress dysfunction (PTSD), a randomised management trial has proven. Men who participated within the trial went on to hunt extra assist than these within the management group, they usually skilled much less self-stigma in comparison with the management group.

The trial’s outcomes have been not too long ago printed on-line in Psychological Medicine, a world, peer-reviewed journal.

“Over 70 million people are currently forcibly displaced as a result of war and persecution—their rates of psychological disorders are elevated,” says research and trial lead Associate Professor Angela Nickerson from the Refugee Trauma and Recovery Program at UNSW Science’s School of Psychology.

“The prevalence of PTSD in individuals from a refugee background is 5 occasions greater than in Australia’s basic inhabitants, so PTSD is a devastating burden on refugees’ mental health.

“But although the group’s mental health wants are excessive, their remedy uptake is low. That’s an enormous concern—those that do not entry remedy could have an elevated danger of ongoing misery and impairment.

“One key barrier to seeking help is self-stigma, or negative beliefs about the psychological symptoms commonly experienced following exposure to trauma and help-seeking.”

Greg Benson, General Manager of Client Services and Operations at research associate SSI famous the truth of mental health stigma in latest refugee arrivals.

“SSI is a major provider of on-arrival support to refugees in NSW, and we observe first hand the psychological symptoms and the barriers to seeking help in our frontline work with refugees.”

That’s the issue the researchers needed to deal with with this intervention—aiming to decreasing stigma and enhancing help-seeking behaviour.

A/Prof Nickerson says the intervention is the primary of its type.

“Before our project, there was no intervention to specifically reduce mental health stigma in refugees – ‘Tell Your Story’ (TYS) is the first program of its kind, and it’s so exciting to see the results of it after years of work.”

TYS consists of 11 brief, interactive web-based modules that include info, brief movies, and actions. Participants accomplished as much as three modules per week over a Four-week interval.

“The focal point of the intervention was videos featuring Arabic, Farsi and Tamil-speaking men sharing their personal experiences overcoming stigma, and describing how they successfully sought support for PTSD,” A/Prof Nickerson says.

“Other interactive activities educated users about PTSD and supported them to develop personalised plans for seeking help. There was no therapeutic assistance, but a computer algorithm was used to feed back responses to various activities to assist men in generating a help-seeking plan.”

“SSI has seen the real world benefits in partnering in trials like this, where an online intervention is available to refugees in community languages,” mentioned Mr. Benson.

Encouraging outcomes: extra males looking for assist

103 refugee males with PTSD signs from Arabic, Farsi or Tamil-speaking background have been randomly assigned to both obtain the TYS intervention, or to take part in a management group of males who have been placed on a wait record.

The TYS individuals accomplished an internet evaluation of their PTSD signs and help-seeking behaviour earlier than the intervention, straight after the intervention, and 1 month after completion.

“One key finding was that men who participated in the intervention sought more help from new sources than those in the control group,” A/Prof Nickerson says.

Dr. Yulisha Byrow, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on the Refugee Trauma and Recovery Program, and the Project Manager believes the optimistic affect of this intervention pertains to the character of the content material.

“We assume the explanation it labored so nicely may very well be as a result of the movies gave individuals concrete examples of the potential advantages of assist looking for.

“For instance, some research individuals instructed us that sensible tales and data helped them perceive the psychological state they’re experiencing, and that psychological remedy may also help them overcome these signs.

“The study participants often expressed their appreciation for a culturally sensitive resource that has been developed with their unique experiences, culture, and language in mind.”

The findings counsel that evidence-based stigma discount methods are helpful in concentrating on self-stigma associated to help-seeking and rising help-seeking amongst refugees.

“Online interventions focusing on social contact may be a promising avenue for removing barriers to accessing help for mental health symptoms in traumatised refugees—that’s consistent with previous research,” A/Prof Nickerson says.

“What’s very encouraging is that individuals had accessed extra sources of assist between post-intervention and follow-up than the management group.

“That’s important because previous studies showed that behaviour change is especially difficult to get from self-stigma interventions.”

Extending analysis to bigger trials—and ladies

The authors now wish to conduct bigger randomised management trials to check a few of these hypotheses and disentangle their findings’ actual mechanisms.

“We also plan to extend the program to women—we focused on refugee men in this study because they are less likely to access psychological treatment than refugee women, but we’d love to extend this to women, too,” A/Prof Nickerson says.

“We also have already made stigma reduction guidelines available to case workers as a result of this research.”

“These guidelines have been helpful for SSI’s frontline staff working with refugees, to deepen their understanding of ways to reduce stigma,” famous Mr. Benson.

Director and Chief Scientist of the Black Dog Institute and contributor to the analysis, Scientia Professor Helen Christensen, highlights the significance of constructing on this proof base.

“Refugees come to our shores often experiencing significant trauma and in desperate need of culturally sensitive mental health resources and services; therefore, it is imperative we understand the barriers that might prevent our refugees from seeking this much-needed help. This research is one pivotal step in the right direction” mentioned Christensen.”Our next step is to broaden this evidence-base to address stigma preventing all refugees from seeking help, regardless of age, gender or religion.”

Using info expertise to advertise health fairness

More info:
Angela Nickerson et al. ‘Tell Your Story’: a randomized managed trial of an internet intervention to cut back mental health stigma and enhance help-seeking in refugee males with posttraumatic stress, Psychological Medicine (2019). DOI: 10.1017/S0033291719000606

Provided by
University of New South Wales

Online program helps traumatised refugees overcome mental health stigma (2019, July 30)
retrieved 30 July 2019

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