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Therapy program seeks outreach to improve mental health of refugees

UPDATED: Feb. 13, 2020 at 12:30 p.m.

Rashmi Gangamma wants to expand what it means to provide therapy to refugee families in central New York.

Gangamma, an associate professor in Syracuse University’s Marriage and Family Therapy department, oversees the refugee mental health program. The Ph.D. program is now offering greater clinical services to better communicate with local refugee families, focusing on the effects displacement can have on mental health.

“In Syracuse, there are a lot of programs that provide resources, but what I found there is a lot of strength in building collaborative efforts rather than each person doing their own thing,” Gangamma said.

About 10,000 refugees settled in Onondaga County between 2007 and 2017. A 2018 study of mental health disorders in refugees found “a substantial lack of data,” on the full extent of psychiatric disorders within these communities, but stated there is an “urgent need” for intervention services.

Students in the Ph.D. program provide therapy to Syracuse residents for a year. The original intent of SU’s program was to make mental health resources available to refugees, but it has since evolved to focus on training students and language interpreters to provide effective treatment, Gangamma said.

The department realized in fall 2019 that there was …read more

Thank you Source: Daily Orange

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