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Research snapshot: adolescent refugees and mental health

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There is a need for scalable interventions that can improve the mental health of young adolescents in poorly resourced settings, where there is usually limited access to specialist mental health services. This trial was set in Jordan where 1.3 million Syrian refugees live. A high percentage of Syrian refugees in Jordan are children or adolescents.

This group-based EASE intervention provides 7 group sessions to teach young people skills to enhance psychological coping with depression, anxiety, and distress, and also includes 3 sessions focused on parents/caregivers. This trial showed that EASE can reduce internalizing problems in young adolescent Syrian refugees when delivered by lay providers, which is significant as internalizing is a particular cause of psychological distress in young people. It suggests parenting interventions should be explored further. EASE did not reduce overall distress, suggesting more work is needed to assist refugee adolescents.