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The mental health needs of child and adolescent refugees and asylum seekers entering Europe.Children and adolescents constitute more than half of the global refugee population, and almost one‑third of first‑time asylum seekers in the European Union (EU) during 2015 were under 18 years of age. Syria, in particular, accounts for a substantial proportion of young refugees and asylum seekers because the ongoing civil war has led to almost 5 million Syrians fleeing their country and becoming refugees during the past 7 years. Being a child or adolescent refugee or asylum seeker carries an increased risk of developing mental illness, and such displaced young people are known to experience problems in accessing health‑care support. The present article draws on examples from Syria in order to (i) Highlight mental health issues that typically arise in children and adolescent refugees and asylum seekers entering Europe and (ii) discuss how changes to health systems and policies in European countries receiving refugees and asylum seekers can be better aligned with global efforts to improve the mental health of young displaced immigrants. In general, research findings indicate that there is a need for better awareness, intra‑agency collaboration, and cultural sensitivity toward the mental health needs of this immigrant population. Furthermore, there is also a need for EU countries to better respond to posttraumatic stress disorder and other typical refugee and asylum seeker mental health problems by more closely aligning national policies with global initiatives to improve the mental health of young displaced immigrants.
Mindfulness in schools: a health promotion approach to improving adolescent mental health.Between 10 and 20% of adolescents worldwide experience a mental health problem within a given 12-month period. Mental health problems impact on an adolescent’s potential to live a fulfilling and productive life and lead to challenges such as stigma, isolation and discrimination. To address this need, in recent years, there has been growing interest into broad-based school-integrated health promotion interventions that seek to build resilience and augment protective factors in adolescents. Mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) reflect one such approach that have been administered to adolescent populations in both resilience building and treatment contexts. This paper discusses the utility of school-based MBIs as an adolescent health promotion approach and makes recommendations for intervention design, delivery and evaluation. Emerging evidence indicates that school-integrated MBIs may be a cost-effective means of not only meeting government objectives relating to adolescent mental health, but also for improving the wellbeing of teachers and parents. Furthermore, there is growing evidence indicating that mindfulness can elicit improvements in student learning performance and general classroom behaviour. However, notwithstanding these beneficial properties, there remains a need to conduct large-scale empirical investigations that seek to evaluate the effectiveness of school-integrated MBIs at a regional or national level. A further challenge is the need to ensure that mindfulness instructors are able to impart to adolescents an experiential understanding of this ancient contemplative technique.