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The Role of Culture in Mental Health Outcomes for Sub- Sahara African Refugees: Challenges, Opportunitiesand Strengths

Dr Mohamud Sheikh

The challenges faced by newly resettled refugees in Australia, particularly those from Sub-Sahara Africa, in accessing and utilisation of Australia’s mental health services is enormous. Evidence suggests that this group of refugees often find the Australian mental health services an unfamiliar and complex web to untangle, from cultural to complete ignorance about their rights to access these services. A vast amount of research suggests that culture plays a significant role in the mental health treatment outcome for patients from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. In this presentation Dr Sheikh will explore some of these challenges and the trans-cultural aspects in working with refugees from Sub-Saharan Africa. The speaker will also traverse the issues and challenges this cohort face in accessing Australia’s mental health care services, with some highlights of a few case reports obtained locally and internationally. He will also suggest some recommended approaches for mental health workers that would help them work effectively with clients from these communities.

Recorded at the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS)
September 2010, New South Wales, Australia.
Visit STARTTS at : www.STARTTS.org.au

Mohamud Sheikh
Mohamud  Sheikh
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Dr Mohamud Sheikh

Dr Mohamud Sheikh is a published international public health specialist with over 17 years experience in communicable diseases control in developing countries and resettled refugees in Australia. Having graduated from the University of Sydney with a double  Masters and a Doctorate in Public Health, Dr Sheikh currently holds a four year fully funded National Health and Medical Research Council Public Health Research Fellowship.

Dr Sheikh migrated from Kenya to Australia nearly 9 years ago. He has a number of key peer reviewed publications on international and refugee health, and also reviews for a number of national and international journals. He is the convenor of the World Health Organisation training of humanitarian aid workers on communicable diseases control in humanitarian emergencies, held yearly at the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales.

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