Head Injury in Asylum Seekers and Refugees

McMillan, T. , Craig, R., Doherty, S. and Gardani, M. (2016) Head Injury in Asylum Seekers and Refugees. The International Brain Injury Association’s Eleventh World Congress on Brain Injury, The Hague, The Netherlands, 02-05 Mar 2016.

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Objectives: Asylum seekers and refugees (ASR) frequently flee persecution including violence. Little is known about the prevalence of head injury (HI) in ASR and consequently little guidance for service providers. This study investigates the prevalence of HI in ASR referred to a psychological trauma service. Methods: Participants were 115 adult ASR referred to a community psychological trauma service with moderate-to-severe mental health problems associated with psychological trauma. They were screened for a history of HI using a questionnaire developed for the study. Interpreters were used when required. Results: The prevalence of HI was 51%. This is considerably higher than general population estimates of HI of ~ 2% in Western countries. In 55% of ASR the cause was torture, human trafficking or domestic violence. Repeat HI was common and reported in 68% of those with HI. An injury to the head was not known to mental health clinicians prior to screening in 64% of cases. Conclusions: Emotional and cognitive consequences of HI may increase the vulnerability of this disadvantaged group. Routine screening for HI in ASR is needed, as are links to brain injury services for advice, assessment and intervention.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gardani, Dr Maria and Doherty, Sharon and McMillan, Professor Tom
Authors: McMillan, T., Craig, R., Doherty, S., and Gardani, M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Mental Health and Wellbeing
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience

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