Psychosocial support for adolescent refugees and migrants in schools.

Interventions promoting social support and social cohesion

About

The Project

RefugeesWellSchool is a European funded Horizon2020 project carried out by seven different partners in six European countries (Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium and the United Kingdom).

The overall objective of the RefugeesWellschool is to further the evidence-base on the role of preventive, school-based interventions in promoting refugee and migrant adolescents’ mental well-being, and on how they can be implemented in diverse educational settings. We herein put a specific emphasis on those interventions furthering social support networks and social cohesion.

Our Mission

Building and spreading knowledge on how psychosocial support interventions work for adolescent migrants and newcomers in schools.

adolescent-student

Social support has a strong protective impact on the well-being of young people. Social exclusion, stigma and discrimination however can lead to negative mental health consegues for young refugees and migrants.

Acknowledging the important impact of social support and cohesion the RefugeesWellSchool project looks in particular at interventions that work on social support and cohesion. One of the most important areas where young migrants and refugees can experience strengthened or hampered social support is the school.

To better understand the influence preventive programmes can have in school context the RefugeesWellSchool project will evaluate the effectiveness and implementation processes of following five preventive, school-based interventions:

  • In-Service Teacher Training and Teaching Recovery Techniques
  • Classroom Drama Therapy program
  • Welcome to school
  • PIER intervention
  • In-service Teacher Training

We will study the effectiveness of these five different interventions in relation to the mental well-being of the refugee and migrant adolescents taking part in these interventions. Hereto, we explicitly use a broad conceptualisation of ‘mental well-being’ looking at:

  • Reduced mental health problems
  • Increased resilience
  • Increased social support networks and positive inter-ethnic relationships
  • School belonging and school attendance
Who is this for?

By implementing these interventions for adolescent migrants and refugees in schools across the participating countries the RefugeesWellSchool will increase the scientific evidence base on what works in which context.

The results of the implementation and the studies will be shared widely with participants, professionals working in schools with children, the general public, policy makers and academics. The website is an important tool to make that happen.

These are the Institutions supporting our Program. We’re already proud of them.

Choose one

In case you have any questions or want to share your own experiences do not hesitate to contact us, we have a great team to help you. If you would like to collaborate further just send us an email, we are looking forward to hearing from you!

We really have a great team engaged to improve psychosocial support for adolescent refugees and migrants in schools. Find out more!

The Consortium
  • An Verelst

    An Verelst

    An Verelst

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  • Anna Sarkadi

    Anna Sarkadi

    Anna Sarkadi

    Anna Sarkadi is a specialist and professor in social medicine at Child Health and Parenting (Chap) research group at the Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences at Uppsala University. Anna Sarkadi leads the research group Chap. The research group CHAP is an interdisciplinary research environment focusing on societal interventions to promote the mental health of children and parents.

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  • Anne Sofie Borsch

    Anne Sofie Borsch

    Anne Sofie Borsch

    Anne Sofie Børsch is a PhD student at the Danish Research Centre for Migration, Ethnicity and Health, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen. She has also a Master in Science in Sociology, with a specialization in migration studies and qualitative research methods.

    She has a special interest in the role of educational institutions regarding the wellbeing and social inclusion of migrant youth.

    Within the RefugeesWellSchool, Anne Sofie deals with qualitative research and analysis. 

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  • Arnfinn Jomar Andersen

    Arnfinn Jomar Andersen

    Arnfinn Jomar Andersen

    Arnfinn J. Andersenhas a doctoral degree in sociology, for his thesis on “How Men Create Space for Family and Parenthood. Fatherhood and its conditions in a heteronormative culture”, at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. He is currently researching on refugee migration to Norway, where he chairs three projects. One of them encompasses the Norwegian leadership of the RefugeesWellSchool, through preventive school-based interventions to promote the mental well-being of refugee and migrant adolescents.

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  • Caroline Spaas

    Caroline Spaas

    Collaborator

    Caroline Spaas

    Collaborator

    Caroline Spaas is a PhD student at the University of Leuven, Belgium (KU Leuven), department for Education, Culture and Society (Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences).

    Caroline will oversee the realization of the RefugeesWellSchool study in Belgium, implementing and evaluating preventive psychosocial intervention programs in ten schools throughout Flanders. She has a special interest in the impact of migration on child development and family relations, as well as in partnerships between schools, families and communities.

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  • Emma Soye

    Emma Soye

    Emma Soye

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  • Fatumo Osman

    Fatumo Osman

    Fatumo Osman

    Fatumo Osman is a researcher at Child Health and Parenting research group at the Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences at Uppsala University. Fatumo obtained her PhD in Medical Science at Karolinska Institutet 2017 with a dissertation of evaluating culturally tailored parenting support programme for Somali-born parents living in Sweden. Current research projects involve long-term follow-up of a parenting support programme on Somali-born parents and their children’s mental health, and to explore refugee parents' perceptions of their children’s needs in terms of mental health.

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  • Ilse Derluyn

    Ilse Derluyn

    Ilse Derluyn

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  • Inna Feldman

    Inna Feldman

    Inna Feldman

    Inna Feldman is a health economist, senior researcher and associate professor at Child Health and Parenting research group at the Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences at Uppsala University. Her area of research encompasses theoretical and empirical health-economics evaluations, with a particular focus on the economic evaluation of interventions targeting mental health problems in children and adolescents

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  • Kirsi Peltonen

    Kirsi Peltonen

    Kirsi Peltonen

    Kirsi Peltonen is a senior researcher and lecturer at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Psychology, Tampere University, Finland. Her research has focused on mental health of violence exposed children and adolescents as well as on interventions targeted to them. Especially, she has studied interventions among refugee children. In the RefugeesWellSchool study, Kirsi wants to use her skills and knowledge about efficacy and effectiveness research and training of professionals.

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  • Lucia de Haene

    Lucia de Haene

    Lucia de Haene

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  • Lutine Pastoor

    Lutine Pastoor

    Lutine Pastoor

    Lutine de Wal Pastoor has a PhD in Educational Anthropology and is a Senior Researcher in the Department of Forced Migration and Refugee Health at the Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies (NKVTS). Her research interests include the education of students from refugee backgrounds, within a sociocultural perspective. Lutine has been participating in the RefugeesWellSchool project since January 2018 and she is now responsible for the development of the In-Service Teacher Training (INSETT).

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  • Mervi Vänskä

    Mervi Vänskä

    Mervi Vänskä

    Mervi Vänskä is a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Psychology, Tampere University, Finland.  She holds a PhD in the field of Developmental psychopathology and Family psychology. Her research contributions are in the areas of: 1) mental health and wellbeing in the transition to parenthood among families with psychological, medical or toxic traumas; 2) early bio-psycho-social risk factors of child development; 3) self-regulation and psychophysiological stress regulation as underlying mechanisms of child development; and 4) intervention research that aims at enhancing the wellbeing of children and families with traumatic histories. In the RefugeesWellSchool study, Mervi is engaged in supervising teachers in completing the INSETT and PIER interventions in Finnish schools. She will also contribute to research concerning impacts of these interventions on adolescent and teacher well-being.

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  • Natalie Durbeej

    Natalie Durbeej

    Natalie Durbeej

    Natalie Durbeej is a behavioural scientist and a researcher at Child Health and Parenting research group at the Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences at Uppsala University. She has interests in mental health problems among children and youth as well as interventions to reduce mental health problems in these populations. Current research projects aim to evaluate interventions to reduce mental health problems among newly arrived children and to explore determinants of equality in health among preschoolers.

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  • Nina Primdahl

    Nina Primdahl

    Nina Primdahl

    Nina Primdahl is responsible for coordinating the implementation of RWS interventions and data collection in the Danish setting. She has a master’s degree in public health from University of Copenhagen and Universidade Nova in Lisbon, specializing in minority health issues and qualitative analysis.

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  • Raija-Leena Punamäki

    Raija-Leena Punamäki

    Raija-Leena Punamäki

    Raija-Leena Punamäki, PhD, is a psychologist and professor at Tampere University, Finland. She received her PhD from the University of Helsinki. Her research was focused on child development, mental health, and family dynamics in conditions of military conflict, psychosocial interventions for war-affected children as well as rehabilitation of survivors of torture/human right. Her current research includes analyses to the maternal exposure to weapon-related heavy metals and infants’ emotional and sensorimotor development.

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  • Reeta Kankaanpää

    Reeta Kankaanpää

    Reeta Kankaanpää

    Reeta Kankaanpää is a doctoral researcher at the University of Tampere, Finland. She specializes in measurement validity and reliability of the questionnaires. Reeta wrote her Master's thesis on testing the validity of multidimensional well-being indices, and is now interested in the measures in RefugeesWellSchool questionnaires. Previously she worked in a study testing the effectiveness of quasi-experimental complex interventions promoting integration of adult refugees.

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  • Riina Lepistö

    Riina Lepistö

    Riina Lepistö

    Riina Lepistö, PsM, is a psychologist and project researcher at the Tampere University, Finland. Previously she has worked in Adolescent Psychiatry and as a School Psychologist. In RefugeesWellSchool she is especially working with implementing and coordinating PIER-intervention and TRT-intervention in Finnish schools.

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  • Sanni Aalto

    Sanni Aalto

    Collaborator

    Sanni Aalto

    Collaborator

    Sanni Aalto is a doctoral researcher at the University of Tampere, Finland. She has 5 years of experience in child psychiatry. Sanni wrote her Master’s thesis on the psychosocial adaptation of first and second generation immigrant adolescents in Finland and is now eager to continue research further within this field. In RefugeesWellSchool Sanni is especially interested in the effectiveness of the school interventions in increasing young migrants’ well-being and adaptation.

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  • Signe Smith Jervelund

    Signe Smith Jervelund

    Signe Smith Jervelund

    Signe Smith Jervelund (PhD, MSc) is Associate Professor at Section for Health Services Research, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen. Signe Smith Jervelund’s main scientific interest lies within the field of health services research with a particular focus on access to, use and effects of healthcare services by different population groups, and how to reduce social and ethnic inequality in health. Applied research, user engagement, comparative perspectives, and innovation in teaching and dissemination of research results are important elements in her work. In the RefugeeWellSchool project, Signe Smith Jervelund is particularly involved in the design, planning and evaluation of the interventions “Drama Therapy” and “Welcome to School”.

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  • Sofie de Smet

    Sofie de Smet

    Sofie de Smet

    Sofie de Smet is a PhD researcher in Psychology and Theatre Studies affiliated to research group S:PAM (Studies in Performing Arts and Media, Ghent University, Belgium) and the Parenting and Special Education Research Unit (KU Leuven, Belgium). She holds a degree in Psychology (KU Leuven & Free University of Berlin) and a degree in Performance Studies (Ghent University). In her interdisciplinary research, she explores the role of trauma narration in refugees’ coping with experiences of collective violence and forced displacement in theatre interventions, including an analysis of the dynamics of participation in applied theatre practices and collaborative research practices with refugees in Western countries of resettlement. Besides her academic work, Sofie is engaged in transcultural posttrauma care to refugees and asylum-seekers in the Clinical Centre PraxisP (KU Leuven) and is currently in her final year of the Postgraduate Training in Family Therapy Studies at the University of Leuven (KU Leuven).

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We are fortunate enough to have the support from all these people

Our Partners

This large scale project supporting newcomers in schools could not happen without the support of wonderful partners across the EU. RefugeesWellSchool is lucky to have partners representing young refugees, policy makers, academia and practitioners. Learn more about our partners below, what they work on and how they are connected to the RefugeesWellSchool project.