Enabling social supports for humanitarian migrants

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The recording of this webinar is being prepared and will be made available in the near future. Please check back soon.

Content type
Webinar
Event date

3 August 2022, 01:00PM to 02:00PM

Presenters

John De Maio, Lisa Button, Blaise Itabelo, Hemavarni (Varni) Doma, Andrea Shepherd

Location

Online

About this webinar

Migration, especially through humanitarian means, is a challenging experience with long-term effects on families’ socio-economic circumstances, and mental health and wellbeing. In particular, many humanitarian migrants experience a loss of social connections when they are forced to move from their home countries. 

New research highlights the benefits of social support in the early stages of resettlement to long-term mental health and wellbeing. 

Learn how your practice can contribute to building social and community connections for recently arrived humanitarian migrants.  

Learning objectives

  • Learn about the latest research on the importance of social support for recently arrived humanitarian migrants.
  • Reflect on the current challenges and service gaps in building social connections with recently arrived humanitarian migrants.
  • Identify opportunities for building social and community connections for recently arrived humanitarian migrants.

This webinar will be of interest to practitioners and organisations who engage with humanitarian migrants as part of their work, but are not specialised settlement services.

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1. AIFS WEBINAR: Enabling social supports for humanitarian migrants: Understanding the relationship between social support and mental health of humanitarian migrants resettled in Australia

Hemavarni Doma BSc(Hons) MPH

Global and Women’s Health, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University

2. Defining social support

Resources, assistance and aid exchanged through social interactions. (House, 1981; Heaney and Israel, 2008)

Four types of support:

  • Emotional: provision of empathy, love, care and trust
  • Instrumental: provision of aid and services to assist an individual in need
  • Informational: provision of advice, information and suggestions
  • Appraisal: provision of information useful for self-evaluation (e.g., constructive feedback) (House, 1981; Heaney and Israel, 2008)

Aims of the study

After resettlement of a cohort of adult humanitarian migrants in Australia, we:

  • Determined the relationship between social support and mental health at different times for all humanitarian migrants and according to gender and age.
  • Described the groups of humanitarian migrants who received more or less social support

3. Overall relationship between social support and mental health

  • More emotional and instrumental support received 3-6 months after resettlement
  • Better mental health 3 years after resettlement

4. Overall relationship between social support and mental health part 2

  • More emotional and instrumental support received 3 years after resettlement
  • Better mental health 5 years after resettlement

5. Relationship between social support and mental health in women

  • More emotional and instrumental support received 3-6 months after resettlement
  • Better mental health 5 years after resettlement

6. Relationship between social support and mental health in men

  • More emotional and instrumental support received 3 years after resettlement
  • Better mental health 5 years after resettlement

7. Relationship between social support and mental health in 18 - 29 year olds

  • More emotional and instrumental support received 3-6 months after resettlement
  • Better mental health 3 years after resettlement

8. Relationship between social support and mental health in 45 - 75 year olds

  • More emotional and instrumental support received 3-6 months after resettlement
  • Better mental health 5 years after resettlement

9. Social support received after resettlement

Received less informational support:

  • Older age
  • Women
  • Humanitarian migrants from South-East Asia
  • Humanitarian migrants reliant on government payments as primary source of income

Received more informational support

  • Humanitarian migrants with higher education
  • Humanitarian migrants with higher English proficiency

10. Social support received after resettlement part 2

Received less emotional and instrumental support:

  • Older age
  • Humanitarian migrants from Central Asia
  • Humanitarian migrants with higher education

Received emotional and instrumental support:

  • Women
  • Humanitarian migrants with higher English proficiency
  • Humanitarian migrants residing in regional Australia

11. Key considerations in supporting humanitarian migrants

  • Invest in resettlement support services to ensure provisions of support reflect the needs of resettled humanitarian migrants.
  • Tailor existing services toward the needs of specific subgroups of humanitarian migrants.
  • Ensure support is provided at certain times and for extended periods after resettlement.

12. References

  • Heaney CA, Israel BA. Social networks and social support. Health behavior and health education: Theory, research, and practice, 4th ed2008. p. 189-210.
  • House J. Work stress and social support. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley. 1981.
  • Doma H, Tran T, Rioseco P, Fisher J. Understanding the relationship between social support and mental health of humanitarian migrants resettled in Australia. 2022. [Manuscript under review].

Useful resources

Presenters

Manager, Quantitative Data | Australian Institute of Family Studies

John joined the Institute in 2008 to work on the Evaluation of the 2006 Family Law Reforms. Between 2013 and 2019, he managed the BNLA. He was responsible for managing data collections, questionnaire design and testing, day-to-day project management and client liaison, preparation of survey reports, data management and processing, data documentation, collaborative working with a range of stakeholders, and quantitative data analysis. John also led the Empowering Migrant and Refugee Women project and undertook research that explored service delivery outcomes for migrant and refugee women who had been living in Australia for at least five years, identifying some of the challenges for these women in the post-settlement period.

Portrait of Lisa Button

Chief Executive Officer | Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia (CRSA)

Lisa has been leading the work of CRSA and its predecessor, CRSI, since she instigated its establishment in 2018. She began her career as a commercial lawyer and has been working in refugee law and policy for more than a decade with organisations such as the Centre for Policy Development, Save the Children and Refugee Legal. Lisa is also a Fellow with the Centre for Policy Development and has been director of a number of refugee-led organisations. Lisa holds a Masters in Public and International Law in addition to her BA/LLB(Hons) from the University of Melbourne. She lives in Melbourne and is the proud mum of three teenage boys.

Portrait of Blaise Itabelo

Community Engagement Manager | Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia

Blaise was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Sadly, the 1996 war in DRC forced Blaise and his family to flee and, for the next decade and a half, Blaise and his family called a refugee camp home. Blaise migrated to Australia in 2011 and is a proud Australian citizen. He has worked extensively on assisting newly arrived migrants, refugees and people seeking asylum in their settlement journey in Australia. Blaise has over 10 years of experience in Community Engagement and Development with a particular interest in community capacity building and mobilisation and has held various roles with local and International NGOs including Access Community Services Ltd, SSI and WorldShare.

Portrait of Hemavarni (Varni) Doma

Research Officer | Global and Women's Health, Monash University

Varni holds a Master's in Public Health and is currently a Research Officer with Global and Women's Health at the School of Public Health and Preventative Medicine, Monash University. With the Global and Women’s Health group, she generates evidence to explain health inequities and promote health for all. Varni’s recent work aimed to understand the relationship between social support and the mental health of humanitarian migrants resettled in Australia. She is interested in sharing insights from her research on different types of support and their relationship to medium- and long-term refugee mental health.

Portrait of Andrea Shepherd

Senior Practitioner Inclusion & Prevention | South East Community Links

As a Senior Practitioner at South East Community Links, Andrea leads a number of community development and family violence prevention programs that engage migrant and refugee community members living in the south-east region of Victoria.
Andrea is excited to be part of this webinar and to have the opportunity to share her experiences, insights and learnings to hopefully contribute to stronger outcomes for our society as a whole.

Acknowledgements

Featured image: © GettyImages/Hispanolistic

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