Home Institution

Wesleyan University

Publication Date

Fall 2011

Program Name

Switzerland: Global Health and Development Policy


Because all refugees have, by definition, left their country due to a “well-founded fear of persecution due to race, political opinion, ethnic origin, religion, or belonging to a particular social group,” it must be assumed that they have experienced trauma, making psychosocial problems ubiquitous among refugees (Bulbul, 2011; M. Carballo, personal communication, 29 September 2011). Research has shown that refugees often experience a range of psychosocial problems, yet research about the potential avenues for ameliorating these problems and their consequences is lacking and must be increased. Through a combination of interviews and a review of the field’s existing literature, it was found that the most common problems include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and a range of social problems, many of which stem from linguistic or cultural barriers and the rigid structure of life in refugee camps. Compounding these problems, it became evident that existing methods for psychological diagnosis and psychotherapy often fail to meet the needs of refugees. Further, programs designed to aid the more social problems, such as consistent language or cultural-immersion courses, are scarce. Ultimately, making the living conditions in refugee camps and self-settlements more conducive to psychosocial wellbeing and making access to adequate resources more prominent, general psychosocial wellbeing should improve for refugees.


Counseling Psychology | Inequality and Stratification | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Social Psychology and Interaction