Understanding Refugee Mental Health and Employment Issues: Implications for Social Work Practice
Resettled refugees have high rates of some mental health disorders, such as PTSD and MDD, largely due to trauma histories and current resettlement stressors. Resettled refugees also have employment struggles that are unique to their status as refugees. This article provides overviews of refugee mental health and refugee employment issues with a specific focus on how these factors are interrelated in U.S. resettled refugee populations. The article describes prevalence rates of mental health disorders among refugees, barriers that limit refugees’ access to mental health treatment, and evidence-based mental health. Additionally, prevalence rates of refugee unemployment and underemployment are reported, along with barriers to adequate refugee employment. The article concludes with recommendations for social work professionals in their practices with resettled refugees in multiple settings: clinical practice, refugee resettlement, policy work, and research.