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Depression & Anxiety

Today we would like to share some critical research recently conducted by a team of researchers Germany and the UK. The researchers wanted to find out more about the specification of anxiety and depression between prevalent amongst the two groups. In general, the results showed that refugees reported more depressive and anxiety symptoms than residents.

Most importantly, with their novel approach to understanding such a phenomenon, the researchers showed that the way refugees and German residents understood depression and anxiety was different! For German residents, 'tiredness' was the core concept of how they understood depression. For refugees, on the other hand, it was 'low self-esteem'. When understanding anxiety, German residents spoke of low sexual desire, a threatening event, or thinking about trauma. Refugees, on the other hand, refereed to stress outside of the home or at school. Surprisingly traumatic events from the past weren't part of the core anxiety model in refugees.

Conclusion: Both - anxiety and depression can be understood differently among refugees than residents. The German resident group's general depression model was identical with diagnostic criteria, but not the model present in refugees.

Take home message: These findings are not surprising, but instead, it reiterates the importance of cultural sensitivity amongst host citizens when integrating with refugees. We know that refugees have indeed experienced a wide range of potentially traumatic events, including forced migration and post-migration stressors compared to residents. Therefore, when it comes to helping them integrate into the host country or provide them opportunities, this aspect should be considered that the way refugees understand and experience depression and anxiety is different from the general public. So one must develop a more nuanced approach to the treatment of depression and anxiety amongst refugees.

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