- Anjali Dutt, PhD
- Brandi Blessett, PhD
- Bryan Wright, PhD
Research Project Description
The purpose of our participatory project is to unite refugee families and local public institutions to develop insights and actions that promote the mental health and wellbeing of refugee youth.
Cincinnati, Ohio is home to more than 20,000 refugees, more than half of whom are under 18. In recent years there has been growing concern about the mental health of refugee youth, in part sparked by high rates of suicide among this population. In addition to the trauma refugee youth and families may have experienced that necessitated migration from their home country, several additional transitional challenges include being separated from family members as a result of migration, feelings of isolation, experiencing discrimination and hostility in a host community, and a lack of understanding of refugees' cultural views regarding mental health.
To gain insight into collaborative and participatory actions that will improve the mental health of refugee youth, we will investigate the following questions via focus groups and interviews with key stakeholders (e.g., refugee youth, caregivers, community leaders and educators) in at least 7 refugee communities:
- How is mental health defined and understood within diverse refugee communities?
- What factors contribute to decreased mental health and/or resiliency among refugee youth?
- How can families, peers, teachers, and other stakeholders work together to identify and support refugee youth facing mental health challenges?
- And, how can information about promoting youth mental health be shared among families and public institutions in a respectful, relevant, culturally and linguistically appropriate manner?
By identifying answers to these questions, we will be able to develop programs and strategies to promote a culture of mental health and wellbeing for refugee youth. Our team will use this information to develop best practices and strategies to create refugee led advocacy and awareness within communities and the broader public.
Anjali Dutt, PhD
Dr. Anjali Dutt is a community psychologist whose work examines how community contexts can promote the empowerment and wellbeing of marginalized community members. Her previous work uses multiple methods to examine and address social justice concerns with refugees and disenfranchised women. Dr. Dutt has significant experience working directly with refugee communities in partnered research aimed at addressing community concerns.
Brandi Blessett, PhD
Dr. Brandi Blessett holds a PhD in Public Administration. Her work examines the role public institutions and administrative decisions play in facilitating disadvantage for underserved populations. Dr. Blessett has substantial experience working with community institutions to change policies that inhibit social justice.
Bryan Wright, PhD
Dr. Bryan Wright is the executive director of Cincinnati Compass, an organization created through a partnership between the Mayor of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, and more than 60 community partners to advance cultural and economic inclusion of immigrants and refugees in the region. Dr. Wright holds a PhD in Geography, and has years of experience working to improve policies and services around refugee resettlement and immigrant integration.