Refugee children: mental health and effective interventions

Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2013 Feb;15(2):341. doi: 10.1007/s11920-012-0341-4.


The mental health consequences of war and other forms of organized violence for children represent a serious global public health issue. Much of the research on the mental health of war-affected civilians has focused on refugees who have sought asylum in high-income countries and face the dual stress of a traumatic past and resettlement. This review will focus on the mental health of refugee children who have fled war as well as interventions to both prevent and treat adverse mental health outcomes. While war can have devastating mental health consequences, children raised in the midst of armed conflict also display resilience. Effective interventions for refugee children will be discussed both in terms of prevention and treatment of psychopathology, with a focus on recent developments in the field.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emigration and Immigration
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / etiology
  • Mental Disorders / prevention & control
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Psychotherapy / methods
  • Refugees / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Warfare