Displaced: Refugees, trauma, and integration within nations

Displaced: Refugees, trauma, and integration within nations

A mother and her young child sit on the kerb with their possessions.

Author: Shaifali Sandhya (Trinity 1994)

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Armed conflicts, natural disasters, poverty, and the pandemic have forced over 117 million people to abandon their homes and heritage. Surging pushbacks, protection gaps, and deportations precipitate refugees’ exclusion from equitable economic, social, cultural, political, and reproductive rights, amplifying suffering. As such displaced communities will shoulder a silent epidemic of posttraumatic stress as well as other debilitating ailments, which are often passed down to future generations. Host nations to which refugees flee do not always associate their psychological well-being with future self-sufficiency and potential for contributions to society, and humanitarian organizations seldom prioritize improved mental health outcomes for refugees. The toll of failing to elevate the importance of refugee mental health is immense, at both individual and societal scales.
Drawing on firsthand accounts and empirical research, as well as interviews with government officials, agency directors, and refugee camp managers, Displaced explores the psychological trauma of refugees, the complex interplay between trauma and integration into host nations, and the consequences of failing to attend to refugee mental health as part of comprehensive resettlement initiatives worldwide. Displaced utilises both quantitative and qualitative methodologies to investigate various aspects of refugee trauma, including gender-specific experiences of war; trauma transmission within conflict-affected families; the mental health ramifications of human cruelty such as political torture; local expressions of refugee resilience and illness in their countries of origin; and the role of stereotypes, social categories, and transatlantic networks in shaping refugee identity and resilience. Identifying key themes and resettlement processes of asylum frameworks in Germany, the US, the UK, and elsewhere, the book demonstrates how national policies can affect refugees’ self-sufficiency and well-being in host societies, and the essential role of receiving nations in designing better opportunities for their access across vocational, educational, and social domains. Utilising a systems-informed, evidence-based, and human-rights oriented approach, Displaced also discusses trauma-informed treatments that may help improve refugee mental health outcomes and enhance inclusivity, along with prosperity for refugees and host nations alike.

Publication date: 
Wednesday 22 November 2023

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