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The mental health and social circumstances of Kosovan Albanian and Albanian unaccompanied refugee adolescents living in London

There is evidence of psychological difficulties amongst asylum-seeking adolescents in Britain. Concern about the mental health and social needs of young unaccompanied refugees in the care of the local authority, Haringey, led to discussions between social workers, and primary care and mental health professionals. In this cross-sectional study using mixed methods we examined the psychological health and social needs of 99 Kosovan-Albanian and Albanian unaccompanied refugee adolescents. Contrary to our expectations, older age at interview and older age on arrival were associated with asignificantly higher level of psychological difficulties, rather than younger age. Lack of structured support, such as living in hostel accommodation, and lack of parental contact were also associated. We suggest that the higher level of psychologicaldifficulties among the older adolescents may be in part due to the reduction in the statutory provision of social, practical and emotional support for this vulnerable population, which occurs after the age of 16 years. Service providers need to address the ongoing mental health and social needs of older unaccompanied refugee adolescents.

Author(s): Kathryn Hollins, Hamideh Heydari, Kate Grayson, Gerard Leavey

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