UWS report reveals barriers between refugees and support

Date: 24/06/2009

Baulkham Hills Holroyd Parramatta Migrant Resource Centre, in conjunction with the University of Western Sydney, will launch a report today on the challenges faced by refugees as they seek help services.

Media are invited to attend the launch of the report which provides insights into the needs, challenges and barriers to 'help seeking' of refugees.

Dr Renu Narchal, from the UWS School of Psychology, says migration in Australia has been steady and on the rise and there is a need for service providers to enhance their competence in dealing with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) clients.

"In order to provide appropriate services to migrants, including refugees and humanitarian entrants, it is important to identify and assess their needs, understand their losses, be aware of cultural differences, and also be informed of their preferred support systems and barriers to seeking help," says Dr Narchal, who authored the report.

"This study found that difficulty in expressing feelings and a lack of English language skills were significant barriers when it came to support and help seeking. This suggests that ability to communicate is important for wellbeing," says Dr Narchal.

The launch event will present service providers with a series of recommendations to help them break down barriers surrounding concerns of refugees seeking help. The report will also encourage formal help services for refugees to improve service delivery.

The recommendations in the report include:

* Provisions to enhance emotional competence as developing this social skill will improve the quality of migrant (including refugees and humanitarian entrants) psychological health thereby increasing willingness to utilise supports and services.

* A focus on lifting the awareness of expectations and ethical standards, such as confidentiality, will help to minimise biases associated with the help/support seeking process and bring about changes to social behaviour.

* A need to develop language skills as a means of helping individuals to express themselves and overcome feelings of anxiousness. Improving language skills through bilingual teaching may foster confidence in self and support services.

Dr Narchal focused her research on members of the Iraqi, Sudanese and Afghan communities through assistance and support of the Baulkham Hills Holroyd Parramatta Migrant Resource Centre.

WHAT: 'Attachment, trust, distress and help-seeking in refugees and humanitarian entrants' - Report Launch
WHEN: 10:30am, Wednesday 24 June, 2009
WHERE: Baulkham Hills Holroyd Parramatta Migrant Resource Centre, 1 Horwood Place, Parramatta.

Note to media: a copy of the report can be obtained by contacting the UWS Media Unit.



Media Officer

Kristy Gleeson
02 9678 7085, 0414 018 498