Caring for Migrant and Refugee Children: Challenges Associated with Mental Health Care in Pediatrics

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ABSTRACT.This article reviews aspects of the mental health care of migrant and refugee children. It highlights the challenges of access to care for these children and of considering the role of pediatricians in their mental health care. It also looks at the sources of differences in presentation of mental health issues of migrant youth when compared with dominant culture youth, examining the contributions of culture, context, and the families' own views. Models of care will be described that have tried to elicit a better understanding of the difficulties migrant and refugee children may encounter. Some avenues through which we may expand our current psychiatric models of care will also be addressed. These avenues include the use of interpreters and cultural brokers, addressing the debate around ethnic matching between therapists and patients, promoting a sensitivity to otherness and mediation, and looking at the importance of time issues.

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