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Culturally Relevant Mental Healthcare for Syrian Refugees

PhD candidate Rachel Farell’s research examines how mental health interventions in Europe are being designed in culturally relevant ways for vulnerable refugee populations, and how community health workers (CHWs) and the refugees themselves experience these interventions. This multi-sited, ethnographic study addresses these questions by examining the implementation of a World Health Organization (WHO) mental health program, called STRENGTHS, delivered to Syrian refugees in the Netherlands and France. It analyzes how this community-level intervention is designed, implemented, and experienced. The stakes of this research are three-fold: a) gaining new insights into the lived experiences of Syrian populations—both the CHWs recruited to deliver the intervention and the refugees receiving mental healthcare—as they interact with STRENGTHS; b) analyzing the design, implementation, cultural relevance, and impact of this initiative; and c) understanding the social interactions and moral economy at the heart of decision-making, compromises, and community-level engagement within this program.