As communities around the world continue to receive record-setting numbers of newcomers fleeing armed conflict, schools play a central role in supporting these families through the challenges of adjustment. Policymakers and educators in several high-income countries have begun to invest in efforts to support these young forced migrants not only academically, but also socially and emotionally. This study reviews the published and grey literature on 20 school-based programs aimed at improving the mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of adolescent forced migrants in high-income countries from 2000 to 2019. This review seeks to inform a more comprehensive and detailed understanding of the types of program options available to schools, while also identifying gaps in the current literature related to factors influencing program implementation. We find several common approaches and challenges to supporting adolescent forced migrants, as well as their families, communities, schools, and service providers. The reviewed programs faced recurring challenges related to intercultural exchange, gaining access to communities, promoting care-seeking, school capacity limitations, and sustainability. The lessons learned from these programs indicate that several steps can be taken to mitigate these challenges, including adapting services to individuals and their contexts, taking a multi-layered approach that addresses multiple levels of young people's social ecologies, and building trusting, collaborative partnerships with schools, communities, and students.
Keywords: Armed conflict; Mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS); Refugee; School; Social and emotional learning.
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