Bhutanese Refugees Mental and Physical Health Resources

Join the Conversation

Tuesday, July 7th to Wednesday, September 30th

Please join us in an online, open forum on telehealth. NCB is providing an opportunity for clinicians to ask each other questions, share observations and adapted telehealth protocols for the SoT population via an online forum and technical exchange. This conversation will be a forum for peer-led informational exchange. NCB staff will assist in facilitating and monitoring the conversation.

Directions: Please watch Eugene Augusterfer’s presentation and interview Telemedicine in Mental Health first. Then feel free to join us in this open forum. All are welcome to join this forum, whether you have an account on Healtorture.org or not. For more information on using the forum, please read the directions on the first post. Please keep your comments respectful, relevant, factual, and do not share identifying information about clients per client privacy and HIPAA regulations. This forum will be open from July 6, 2020 through September 30, 2020.

1.    Assessing the Mental Health of Karen and Bhutanese Refugee Families in the Child Welfare System by Patricia Shannon, Ph.D. et al (In collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Health and The Center for Victims of Torture). Available at the Minnesota Center for Social Work Research's web site. Direct link to poster: http://www.cehd.umn.edu/ssw/research/posterpdfs/Shannon-Wieling-MH-Poster.pdf.

Results of a focus group among Bhutanese and Karen refugees which gives providers insight into what these refugees require from providers in terms of encouragement, cultural sensitivity and assurances to enable them to share their stories and symptoms.

2.    Psychiatric Disorder Among Tortured Bhutanese Refugees in Nepal by Mark Van Ommeren, PhD, et al.  Available at the Archives of General Psychiatry web site. Direct link to article: http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/reprint/58/5/475.pdf.

This study gives providers insights into some of the psychological disorders to expect among the Bhutanese refugee population. It also gives pointers to differences in responses based on gender – men are more likely to report torture while women are more likely to report certain disorders.

3.    Refugees from Bhutan: History, Culture and Traditional Practices by the Minnesota Department of Public Health available at http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/refugee/vfbhutan.pdf.

A PowerPoint presentation that provides a background of the Bhutanese refugees and addresses traditional healing practices. The traditional healing practices terms have not been translated into English, so a good companion to this would be the webinar.

4.    Health of refugees from Bhutan, a fact sheet by the International Rescue Committee available at http://www.cal.org/co/email_discussion/Attachments/IRC-Bhutanese_Health_FactSheet.pdf.

This 1-pager covers the primary causes of Bhutanese refugees' health concerns and the health problems they are expected to experience when transitioning to America.

5.    Impact of Torture on Refugees Displaced Within the Developing World -Symptomatology Among Bhutanese Refugees in Nepal by Nirakar Man Shrestha et al. From The Journal of the American Medical Association, full article available at http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/280/5/443.full.pdf.

This statistical research addresses the impact of torture on Bhutanese refugees using The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Revised Third Edition (DSM-III-R) criteria for PTSD and the Hopkins Symptom Checklist-25 (HSCL-25) for depression and anxiety.

6.    The relationship between somatic and PTSD symptoms among Bhutanese refugee torture survivors: Examination of comorbidity with anxiety and depression by Mark Van Ommeren et al. From the Journal of Traumatic Stress (Wiley). Abstract available at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1023/A:1020141510005/abstract.

This study examines relationships between PTSD and somatic complaints and may be a useful tool for providers to detect symptoms of PTSD in patients who do not necessarily express them in a western context.

7.    Prevalence of mental disorders and torture among Bhutanese refugees in Nepal: a systemic review and its policy implications, by E. Mills, S. Singh, B. Roach, and S. Chong. From the Journal of Medicine, Conflict and Survival, through the PubMed website. Direct link to abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18456987.

This study identifies various mental illnesses among a sample of Bhutanese refugees identified as torture survivors in 1995. This may be a useful tool in intake interviews and follow up care of Bhutanese refugee survivors.

8. Vitamin B12 Deficiency in Resettled Bhutanese Refugees, by Walker et al, from Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Vol. 60 / No. 11.

This article discusses the issue of B12 deficiency in Bhutanese refugees.  B12 deficiency has many physical consequences, but it also impacts mental health (neuropsychiatric symptoms are often some of the first signs of B12 deficiency).

9.    Bhutanese in the US – An Overview for Torture Treatment Programs. A webinar by CVT available here.

This webinar provides an overview of Bhutanese refugees and is geared primarily towards torture treatment centers in the United States who would work with the Bhutanese survivors of torture and trauma.

10.    An Investigation into Suicides Among Bhutanese Refugees in the U.S., by Ao et al, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Refugee Health Technical Assistance Center. Available here.

This report describes the study design and findings of an investigation into suicides that occured from 2009-2012 among Bhutanese resettled refugees in the U.S.