Refugee Children in the Scope of Mental Health Services at School

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Schools play an important role in the psychosocial, academic, and professional development of refugee children. Specifically, psychological counselors and guidance (PCG) experts who provide mental health services in schools have a critical role in this process. The way of approach to the problems, areas of difficulty, support needs, and suggestions of PCG experts who have experience working with refugee children can increase the quality of the services to be provided in this direction. In this study based on qualitative design, the experiences of PCG experts who have worked with refugee children were examined. The data were collected from 38 PCG experts. The data were analyzed with the thematic analysis technique. As a result of the analyses, 27 sub-themes related to six themes were determined: the perceptions of the PCG experts about refugee children, their approach to refugee children, the demands of refugee children, the activities carried out for refugee children, the competence to work with refugee children, and effective intervention proposals for refugee children. It has been determined that PCG experts have a realistic perception of refugee children, they carry out various activities towards refugee children in a professional manner in line with their demands, and they develop various coping methods against difficulties in this process. Although working with refugee children contributes to improving the professional skills of PCG experts, PCG experts need training to giving effective services to refugee children such as non-language-based methods, trauma education, refugee rights, psychoeducation and play therapy activities. Based on PCG experts’ experiences, they offer various recommendations for effective interventions for refugee children. In line with the results obtained, it has been evaluated that school counseling services can be the pioneer of activities to increase positive experiences in order to increase the mental health of refugee children.


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