Responding to the Mental Health and Other Needs of Immigrants and Refugees

Cross-Cultural Training and Technical Assistance Program for Mental Health Providers

Dates of Project: 2005—2011

Field of Work: Providing mental health and human services for immigrants and refugees.

Problem Synopsis: More than 30 million immigrants and refugees live in the United States. Refugees in particular suffer a high prevalence of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD), panic attacks, and traumatic brain injuries, according to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Synopsis of the Work: In 2005, the Center for Multicultural Human Services began to develop a training and technical assistance program to help mental health and human service providers respond effectively to the mental health and other needs of immigrants and refugees. In April 2008, the center closed, and Northern Virginia Family Service assumed responsibility for completing the development and implementation of the program.

Key Findings/Results: Northern Virginia Family Service created a training program, the Caravel Institute, using its own materials as well as materials developed by the center.

Some 200 people participated in interactive webinars.
A website offered tip sheets, a toolbox, and other resources to help human service professionals understand the issues and address the needs of multicultural populations.

The Center for Multicultural Human Services completed development and validation of a comprehensive, professional rating tool to assess the functional needs of immigrant and refugee families.

It also attempted unsuccessfully to find ways to sustain the program and decided to stop it as its mission is service provision not training.