How schools in Germany shape and impact the lives of adolescent refugees in terms of mental health and social mobility

Monica-Diana Podar*, Alexandra-Maria Freţian, Zeynep Demir, Oliver Razum, Yudit Namer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Schools are relevant settings for supporting refugee adolescents' mental health. As education and migration are important social determinants of health, we aim to integrate the qualitative findings of our mixed-methods study into a broader discussion regarding the role of schools and the potential effects on refugee adolescents' lives and mental health, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this article, we present the findings of school-based actors' (i.e., teachers and school psychologists) perception of refugee adolescents' access to mental health care. The interviews highlight the importance of schools and social activities as main stabilizers and sources of support for refugee adolescents’ mental health and the role trusting school-parent relationships play in mental health care help-seeking. Our data indicate that schools lack the resources to properly address these needs. However, these structural gaps are rooted into historical segregation and discrimination in the German educational system and left unaddressed, can increase stigma and intergenerational social inequalities, especially in connection to the COVID-19 pandemic. We conclude our article with a set of recommendations that could be relevant and implemented across different contexts to strengthen the role of the school setting in promoting the mental health and well-being of refugee adolescents.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101169
JournalSSM - Population Health
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022
Externally publishedYes


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