Experiences of mental health professionals and volunteers supporting forced migrants: A qualitative exploration

Tynewydd, Iona (2019) Experiences of mental health professionals and volunteers supporting forced migrants: A qualitative exploration. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Background: The global level of forced migration continues to rise, resulting in a traumatised population necessitating support from mental health services and other organisations. Previous research has identified a range of implications of supporting this population for mental health professionals, however this knowledge has not been synthesised. Listening to the accounts of forced migrants has been reported to be particularly difficult, but also often inspiring. Support is often provided by volunteers, yet almost no research regarding their experiences of this exists.

Aims: The current portfolio aims to synthesise previous literature regarding the experiences of mental health professionals. It aims to undertake a novel exploration into the experiences of volunteer mentors supporting this population.

Methodology: A systematic review was conducted, in which a thematic synthesis analysed existing qualitative literature to consider challenges and facilitators for mental health professionals supporting forced migrants. Further, an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was undertaken to explore the experiences, reflections and emotional implications of volunteer mentors supporting forced migrants in the United Kingdom.

Results: The findings suggest that mental health professionals working with forced migrants are influenced by three analytic constructs: Professionals Must be Aware of and Contend with Power Differentials, Professionals Must Develop Specialist Knowledge and Skills and Witnessing Forced Migrants’ Stories and Trauma Significantly Impacts on Professionals, which encompass a range of challenges and facilitators. Four superordinate themes regarding the experience of volunteer mentors emerged: Paralyzed by Responsibility and Powerlessness, Weighty Emotional Fallout, Navigating Murky Boundaries and Enriched with Hope, Joy and Inspiration.

Conclusion: The findings show that volunteer mentors’ experiences are complex, and comprise distress, challenge and fulfilment. Implications for services and organisations are presented. Possible roles for clinical psychologists and directions for future research are suggested.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Depositing User: Users 11011 not found.
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2019 11:51
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2022 01:38
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/72801


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