Description of a Culture-Sensitive, Low-Threshold Psychoeducation Intervention for Asylum Seekers (Tea Garden)
Background: Asylum seekers often suffer from high levels of mental distress. However, as a result of a lack of knowledge about mental health and health care, as well as cultural and language barriers, the utilization of mental health care in Western host countries is often difficult for these individuals. Reducing these barriers may thus be a crucial first step towards appropriate mental health care. Previous research showed that psychoeducation may be helpful in this regard.
Method: The current manuscript describes a short, low-threshold and transdiagnostic intervention named ‘Tea Garden (TG)’. The TG aims to increase specific knowledge about mental health problems and available treatments, and may improve psychological resilience and self-care. In this manuscript, we specifically focus on culturally sensitive facets, following the framework proposed by Heim and colleagues (2021, https://doi.org/10.32872/cpe.6351), and lessons learned from three independent pilot evaluations (Ns = 31; 61; 20).
Results: The TG was found to be feasible and quantitative results showed that it was helpful for male and female asylum seekers from different countries of origin (e.g., Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Iraq) and with different educational levels. Interestingly, even asylum seekers who had already been in Germany or Austria for three or more years benefited from the TG.
Conclusion: The TG specifically aims to be culture-sensitive rather than culture-specific, to be transdiagnostic rather than focused on specific mental disorders, and to be suitable for asylum seekers who are still in the insecure process of applying for asylum. It may also be helpful for distressed asylum seekers who do not fulfill the criteria for a mental disorder, and for healthy asylum seekers who could use the knowledge gained in the TG to help others.
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