Module 7 – 10 Psychological Health

10 Psychological Health

10.1 Symptoms

As a consequence of their experiences, children of refugees have emotional injuries and these are often too complicated to diagnose and treat within the limits of daily medical routine (Sirin and Roger-Sirin, 2015; Fazel and Stein, 2002; Bronstein and Montgovmery, 2011). However, awareness of some symptoms could be helpful enough to detect problems, which might need investigation and treatment.

  • enuresis, encopresis
  • sleep disturbances
  • change of behavior  – depression, aggression, …
  • loss of appetite
  • school problems
  • reduction of contact to friends, family members
  • self-injuries
  • pain – chronic headache, body pain
  • alcohol problems
  • repeated collapse
  • increasing weakness

In case of a suspected psychological illness do not hesitate to contact a hospital or an aid organization. [Link to sub-chapter 12 Helpful Links]

10.2 Domestic violence and sexual abuse

Cases of domestic violence or sexual abuse need interdisciplinary support. Be aware of it and search for support when it is suspected (UNHCR, 2003; UN Women, 2013).

  • The shelter of a victim goes first! e.g. contact youth welfare service and ask for support
  • Make detailed documentation about all symptoms or reported information. When available make photos!
  • Communicate your suspicion with the caregivers and offer help.
  • Please try to signal understanding and willingness of cooperation, not condemnation.
  • Take care that the future environment of the child is safe.