Improving Early Detection of Refugee-Related Stress Symptoms: Evaluation of an Inter-Professional and Inter-Cultural Skills Training Course in Sweden
Twenty-three of 26 participants, mainly women from six local agencies involved in the reception of refugees, completed a university course titled “Refugee-related stress and mental health—local cooperation”, which was spread over seven days in 2011. The course was based on evidence and clinical experience and was commissioned to serve as competency training by Stockholm County Council and Södertälje Municipality. It received funding from the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare. It was a continuation of an earlier one-week full-time university course from 2010 with the same title. As a result of a new law relating to refugee reception, which led to organizational change, the participants requested a continuation of the original course. The learning objectives were met (5.4 on a 6-point scale; 1 = strongly disagree, 6 = strongly agree). The general assessment of the course as a whole by the participants was 5.7 (on a 6-point scale, 1 = very unsatisfied, 6 = very satisfied). The participants thought that their skills had increased, and their perception was that they had significantly better control of their work situation following completion of the course. The most important findings were that participants from different agencies at the local level: (1) perceived that they had developed the sense that there was a local inter-cultural and inter-professional inter-agency collaboration in the reception of newly arrived refugees and (2) will continue efforts to stabilize and develop this together. This method of teaching, in terms of skills training, is not a “quick fix.” It is a process, and it needs support from those in power in order to continue.
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