Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Building Awareness, Skills & Knowledge: A Community Response to the Torture Survivor Experience

The National Partnership for Community Training, in collaboration with Lutheran Social Services South Dakota, will be hosting a training on September 10 -11, 2014 in Sioux Falls, SD for providers who serve the immigrant, refugee, asylee, and asylum-seeking populations.

Many professionals, such as social workers, teachers, doctors, nurses and mental health clinicians, may not have been trained in, and are generally unaware of, the specific issues, treatments and referral needs that survivors of torture can pose. 

This training includes presentations from a nationally-recognized expert in the torture treatment field from the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture and in the substance abuse treatment field from Florida International University.

There is no charge for the training, but registration is required.

Registration deadline is Friday, August 22, 2014 or when we reach capacity.

 CLICK HERE for more information.

 

Information Guide: Working with Refugees with PTSD

The National Partnership for Community Training is pleased to present the information guide: Working with Refugees with PTSD

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can manifest as a result of experiencing, witnessing, or perpetrating torture or trauma and is one of the most common mental health issues experienced by refugees.

This information guide is based on a webinar presented by Kristin L. Towhill, LCSW, a Florida Center for Survivors of Torture clinical supervisor.

Download the information guide here

View the webinar here

Download a PDF of the presentation slides here

Register for the upcoming webinar

The National Partnership of Community Training is pleased to present the webinar:

Addressing Mental Health, PTSD, and Suicide in Refugee Communities

Thursday July 31, 2014

5:30pm – 6:30pm EST

Please register here

Refugees face a broad range of challenges that can make them more susceptible to mental health difficulties, including PTSD, depression, and suicide. Awareness of Western medical-based diagnoses is fundamental, but providers must also be aware of the ways that distress is manifested or verbalized by their clients, and feel empowered to provide culturally appropriate treatment or referrals.

The objectives of this webinar are to:

  1. Enhance the capabilities of providers in recognizing and meeting refugee mental health needs,
  2. Assist social service providers in responding to recent increases in suicide attempts in the refugee community
  3. Present indicators, warning signs and prevalence of PTSD, depression, somaticization and suicidal ideation
  4. Present evidence-based interventions for addressing PTSD, depression, somatiicization and suicide

This webinar will be presented by Kristin L. Towhill, LCSW, a psychotherapist who serves as the Clinical Supervisor at the Florida Center for Survivors of Torture. She has worked extensively with clients with trauma and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder from torture, combat, and sexual abuse and assault. She has presented to a range of professionals, laypeople, and students on PTSD, complex trauma, dissociative disorders, and diversity.

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Working with Refugees with PTSD

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can manifest as a result of experiencing, witnessing, or perpetrating torture or trauma. According to the CDC, PTSD along with Major Depression are the most common health issues experienced by refugees (2012).

The objectives of the webinar are to:

1. Enhance provider-client relationships and create more successful outcomes with refugees with PTSD
2. Provide an in-depth understanding of PTSD symptomatology and its impact on the survivor
3. Empower providers in making their own clinical decisions in the moment

The presenter is:

Kristen Towhill, LCSW, is a Clinical Supervisor at the Florida Center for Survivors of Torture. Ms. Towhill has worked extensively with clients with trauma and PTSD from torture, combat, and sexual abuse and assault. She has presented to a wide range of professionals and students on PTSD, complex trauma, dissociative disorders, and diversity.

This webinar was developed in conjunction with the Ethiopian Community Development Council.

Download the accompanying Information Guide: Working with Refugees with PTSD

Click the slide below to view the webinar

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Download a PDF of the slides here

Making Specialized Referrals

NPCT is pleased to present the latest Information Guide, Making Specialized Referrals. This information guide assists in making effective and informed referrals by highlighting the process and the content needed to develop and maintain a referral network. Screenings and referrals are necessary in order to ensure the effective use of holistic treatment for torture survivors. Screenings are not meant to be diagnostic tools, but rather instruments to help identify medical or mental health cases that might need to be referred to professionals outside of your agency. This guide highlights some of the more popular screening instruments currently being used in the refugee trauma field.

Download the Information Guide here.

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Substance Abuse and the Torture Survivor Experience – Information Guide

Survivors of torture are not more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol; however, alcohol and substance abuse often develop secondarily in torture survivors as a way of obliterating traumatic memories, regulating affect, and managing anxiety.

This information guide assists social service providers in better understanding the nature, course, prevention, and treatment of substance use problems; the link between substance abuse and trauma; the models used to explain problematic use; and clinical considerations for working with substance abusing clients. 

This information guide is based on the February 26, 2014 NPCT webinar, Substance Abuse and the Torture Survivor Experience.

Download the information guide: Substance Abuse and the Torture Survivor Experience

View the webinar

Download a PDF of the PowerPoint slides here

Strengthening the Congolese Community: Background, Resettlement, and Treatment – Information Guide

Congolese refugees have fled repeatedly over the last 15 years as various rebel groups have added to the unrest. As of January 2013, UNHCR reported over 509,000 Congolese refugees and 56,000 asylum seekers residing outside the country and approximately 2.6 million internally displaced people. Congolese refugees are not new to the US. About 13,000 Congolese have been resettled since 2001 with 65% of arrivals coming in the last four years.

This Information Guide offers some background and practical considerations for preparing for Congolese arrivals. In addition, this information guide offers a one page guide to a trauma informed and culturally syntonic approach to service provision, which assists in de-stigmatizing the Congolese and strengthens your role in helping them to become better contributing and functioning members of the community.

This Information Guide was based on the webinar, Strengthening the Congolese Community: Background, Resettlement, and Treatment, which was originally hosted by NPCT on December 11, 2013.

Download the Information Guide – Strengthening the Congolese Community: Background, Resettlement, and Treatment.

View the webinar.

Download a PDF of the PowerPoint slides here.

The International Rescue Committee has also released a Backgrounder on Congolese Women and Girls. Experiences of Refugee Women and Girls from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): Learning from IRC’s Women’s Protection and Empowerment Programs in DRC, Tanzania, Burundi, and Uganda.

 

Substance Abuse and the Torture Survivor Experience

The varying degrees of trauma experienced by refugees and torture survivors can have physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral effects. In order to cope, forget, or ignore the impact of violent conflict, flight, resettlement, and adjustment some refugees and torture survivors may turn to substance use.

The objectives of this webinar are to:

  1. introduce the theories and model pertaining to substance abuse
  2. offer guidance in identifying, diagnosing, referring, and treating substance abuse within the refugee and torture survivor community
  3. address the apprehension of some social service providers in addressing substance abuse
  4. address the stigma and cultural norms associated with substance abuse
  5. offer best practices for dealing with substance abuse

The presenters are:

Eric F. Wagner, Ph.D., Director of Florida International University’s Community Based Intervention Research Group

Richard Mollica, M.D., M.A.R., Director of the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

Click the slide below to view the webinar.

YouTube Preview Image

Download a PDF of the slides here.

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Suicide Prevention Resources

Suicides can occur in every community, culture, and country. However, the suicide rate for Bhutanese refugees resettling in the U.S. is nearly three times as high as the average suicide rate in the U.S. according to the International Organization for Migration. In addition, suicide has become an epidemic, especially among youth in Bhutan. The Royal Bhutan Police reported that from 2010 to October 2013, 293 suicides were reported.

Among refugee populations resettled in the U.S., the sense of loss from leaving one’s family and culture, coupled with language learning and employment difficulties can further one’s sense of hopelessness. In addition, the feeling of inadequacy stemming from an inability to provide for one’s family, lessened social support, family and community conflict after resettlement, worries about family in the home country, and difficulty retaining ones cultural and religious beliefs and traditions are also risk factors.

As social service providers, we can effectively assist our clients by educating ourselves on the warning signs, knowing how and when to refer, introducing families to social and education opportunities, and ensuring that clients have someone to help with the resettlement process and the myriad of changes along the way.

In an effort to combat the rising suicide rate among the Bhutanese population in the U.S., the National Partnership for Community Training is pleased to offer the following resources on suicide prevention.

Webinars:

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Strengthening the Congolese Community: Background, Resettlement, and Treatment

The ongoing refugee crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the result of almost 16 years of violent conflict and unrest. By the end of 2012, over 2.4 million Congolese had been internally displaced and close to 500,000 had become refugees*. Ongoing instability in what is considered one of the most violent and war torn regions in the world has led to large scale trauma and torture.

Since 2000, the United States has resettled almost 12,000** refugees from the DRC, which is comprised of 250 ethnic groups and 700 languages. The diversity of the DRC makes it difficult to generalize about the abilities of the Congolese refugees coming into the US; however this webinar offers some valuable background on the country and the conflict, up-to-date resettlement information, and best, promising, and emerging therapeutic practices. [Read more...]

Impact of NPCT TA’s work with mainstream providers: North Carolina to Offer Mental Health Screenings to Incoming Refugees

The National Partnership for Community Training (NPCT) is pleased to report on an NPCT E-learning project developed by course participant, Josh Hinson, a clinical instructor at the School of Social Work and program director of the Graduate Certificate in Global Transmigration at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. NPCT facilitates e-learning courses to increase the awareness and ability of mainstream providers to identify and serve refugees who have suffered severe trauma and torture.

After realizing the need for increased refugee mental health screenings upon arrival into the host country, Hinson responded by partnering with Church World Service resettlement staff in Durham, North Carolina to develop a screening procedure. The project will institute a method to identify severe mental health distress in newly arriving refugees and thereby develop a system of care for refugee mental health, including screening and referral to peer support groups, individual therapy, or community-based psychiatric care as appropriate.

Resettlement staff at Church World Service affiliate office CWS-RDU Immigration and Refugee Program will refer clients to Hinson’s project staff who are Masters of Social Work students for an intake screening using the RHS-15. Community Resource Coordinator at CWS-RDU, Kelly Cohen-Mazurowski, is thrilled to be able to offer mental health screenings to newly arrived refugee clients. In the past, clients were apprehensive about seeing a mental healthcare provider; however, now that clients have the opportunity to be screened in their homes with an interpreter present, there is a lot more openness to receiving mental health services. Cohen-Mazurowski explains “that many of the clients have received multiple home visits from Josh and his students and that they appreciate the opportunity to share their experiences and to have help in adjusting to life here in the United States”.

The project will use a three-tiered response system: refugees whose screening is below the RHS-15 cutoff will be offered the opportunity to participate in peer support groups; refugees above the cutoff will be offered individual and/or family therapy, and will be assessed for appropriateness for group sessions; refugees whose bio-psycho-social assessment indicates severe mental illness will be offered psychiatric case management and will be assessed for appropriateness for group and individual/family therapy. MSW students who are in clinical training will select and provide the most culturally appropriate, evidence-based, trauma-focused treatment modalities to provide individual, family, and group treatment and/or case management.

Beth Farmer of Pathways to Wellness at Lutheran Community Services Northwest will be contracted for consultation regarding use of the RHS-15. In addition, Hinson’s project will utilize the Health Promotion and Wellness Format, developed by Dr. Richard Mollica and Jim Lavelle at the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma, as well as Pathways to Wellness’ Community Adjustment Support Group Curriculum.

Hinson attributes NPCT’s E-learning course to providing the opportunity to be immersed in theory and research on best practices with refugee survivors of torture and trauma. In addition, the E-learning course gave him the networking “opportunity to partner with a local refugee resettlement organization and planted the seeds for our current refugee mental health initiative.” NPCT wishes Josh and his students continued success.

NPCT can help your city/state develop similar tools to help refugees who have experienced severe trauma and torture. Please contact us to be a part of the growing network of cities that are working effectively with survivors of torture through the technical assistance provided by NPCT.

Congolese Success Stories

The National Partnership for Community Training is pleased to present some recent success stories of Congolese refugees.

Charlotte Sews for Success in the Micro-enterprise Program

Charlotte Sews for Success in the Microenterprise ProgramCharlotte, a refugee originally from the Congo, is a skilled and trained tailor with more than twenty years experience in the tailoring business in Ethiopia and Congo. She also worked as a  teacher for a United Nations (UN) Sewing Project for Women in Ethiopia. Charlotte was resettled by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Tucson, Arizona in 2008 with her husband and four children. -excerpt taken from ORR

 

 

 

Providing for a Family of Seven

New Licensed Provider:  Violette Kalambayi

Violette is a  refugee who arrived in the United States from the Congo.  Violette is one of our most outgoing and expressive clients to date.  As a Certified Nursing Assistant, starting her own home-based childcare business was a natural fit.  Violette completed many hours of child care business training and passed all county, health and safety inspections perfectly.  She now boasts three enrolled children. – excerpt taken from ORR


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video address: Fidel Nshombo

“I am blessed as a refugee. Blessed as a citizen and I am blessed as a human being and even better I am blessed that I have been given the opportunity to come here after 15 years of tribulations and explore and extend my opportunities. But more better than that I have been blessed to be put in a neighborhood, in a city, where they support me from the bottom up, Boise, ID. From the street vendors who come and listen to me speak my poetry for hours to the governor who invites me to the big conferences. So I want to tell you this; the mayor has given me a space to help refugees, so I want you guys to go in your neighborhood, find the problems that refugees are facing, even though there is no funding, there is no money through agencies to support those programs. Be a volunteer and start that program on your own. Help those people and later if funding will ever be, it will be better, but don’t wait for money to help. Thank you and God bless you.” – Fidel – excerpt taken from ORR

 

And the winner of the Nansen Refugee Award, Sister Angélique Namaika

Sister Angélique Namaika, a 46-year-old Congolese Roman Catholic nun who has been working with displaced women and girls for a decade in the remote town of Dungu, in north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Sister Angélique assists displaced women and girls who have been forced from their homes by armed groups – including the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) – and helps them to pick up the pieces of their lives.

Refugee Mental Health Bibliography

This bibliography is an effort to compile prominent research and literature on refugee mental health, from general information to screening and assessment processes, effective interventions and best and promising practices in therapy, clinical treatment and culturally specific modalities. The purpose of this bibliography is to provide an available resource for scholars, researchers, service providers, students, and community members who work and provide care to refugees and asylum seekers.

Refugee Mental Health Bibliography