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The mental health of immigrant and refugee children and adolescents

I Harry Minas and Susan M Sawyer
Med J Aust 2002; 177 (8): 404-405.
Published online: 21 October 2002

A case of public policy confusion

In recent years, there has been an increasing focus on the mental health of children and adolescents.1 This is part of the broader process of reform of Australian mental health services, which now emphasises mental health promotion, the development of preventive approaches, early detection of mental disorders and early treatment interventions.2 At the same time, there is now clearer recognition that, in a country as culturally and linguistically diverse as Australia, specific attention must be paid to the cultural dimensions of mental disorder and mental health service design and the specific needs of Indigenous people, immigrants and refugees.3 Major national mental health policy statements now recognise these issues, and funding for State-based transcultural mental health units and centres for the treatment and support of torture and trauma survivors is one aspect of implementing this policy.

  • I Harry Minas1
  • Susan M Sawyer2

  • 1 Centre for International Mental Health, School of Population Health, University of Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 Centre for Adolescent Health, Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville, VIC.


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