Health, family and school

mental health of children from refugee families

  • Elsa Figueiredo Departamento de Saúde Pública da ARSLVT, IP, Lisboa, Portugal
  • Maria do Céu Barbiéri-Figueiredo Escola Superior de Enfermagem do Porto, NursID – CINTESIS, Porto, Portugal
  • Mário Simões LIMMIT, FMUL, Lisboa, Portugal
Keywords: school mental health, refugees, family nursing


Introduction: Mental health is a priority in public health. Nowadays it is important to know its prevalence in refugees health and to intervene avoiding its perpetuation in future generations. (Frazel, 2002; Solheim, 2016). 

Objectives: To know the prevalence of mental illness in children from refugee families. 

Methods: Classic literature review focusing on the state of the art of the mental health of refugee children. 

Results: Half of the refugee children show symptoms of mental illness, such as post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, with a prevalence and varied manifestations, such as adjustment, cognitive, learning and language problems, unreported, late, cumulative to educational detention and disadvantage, affecting one in ten children. (Graham, Minhas, Paxton, 2016). 

New perspectives/Guidelines: Primary prevention should take place in the school context, a space for connection to parents and the community, for integration, inclusion, education, and promotion of child and emotional development, such as building self-esteem and identity, facilitating social and peer relationships, and monitoring of resilient and adaptive behaviors (Fazel & Stein, 2009; World Health Organization, 2018 a)b)). 

Conclusions: In order to provide comprehensive assistance to refugee children and their families, the holistic, systemic and cross-cultural praxis of the family nurse should be promoted in order to satisfy their needs and promote child development and the mental health of refugee children, integrating the school context, the center of the proximal support network. 


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Life and Healthcare Sciences