Covid-19 Support Australian Refugee Webpage (CSAR)
We are a team of academics and research assistants from the University of New South Wales. Our project is the WATCH study, which is concerned with the mental health, COVID-19, functioning and settlement of refugees and conflict-affected people. Our study is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). The 1335 participants in our study have been interviewed multiple times over the last five years and we have published data that has provided important menta health information to assist refugees (Rees et al JAMA Network Open 2019). Our research assistants are from the same cultural backgrounds as the participants, and they are fluent in English, Arabic, Sudanese and Tamil.
We are very concerned about the high level of confusion, fear and uncertainty about COVID-19 amongst people who are from refugee and conflict-affected backgrounds, and amongst those do not have English as a first language. We are therefore contacting all our participants to offer them specialised mental health support during the COVID-19 crisis. We are also extending our COVID-19 mental health support to other conflict-affected Australians. To do this we have launched the COVID-19 Support Australian Refugee (CSAR).
Australians and the world have been brought together by this unprecedented challenge. We share the common threat of COVID-19, and we all share the fear and uncertainty that goes with it. Many of us have lost our jobs and our livelihoods. We may also be living in close proximity to each other, quarantined in households where frustration can increase, and families can be more at risk of aggression toward each other.
Many people will experience mental health problems associated with the fear, uncertainty and hardship of COVID-19, including depression, anxiety, rumination, grief and anger. For refugees and trauma-affected Australians, mental health problems related to past traumas and current adversity can be exacerbated or manifesting differently in these new and challenges times.
We have created this webpage to provide refugees, migrants and conflict-affected Australians access to mental health support. We encourage refugee, conflict-affected and migrant background men, women and young people to look at the services on our page and to contact them.
We also provide information on the most up to date information about this crisis by providing a link to the Refugee Council of Australia webpage https://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/ and to the links associated with general health and prevention of COVID-19.