Mental health and PTSD: Ottawa medical workers discuss Syrian refugees
About 150 medical professionals meet for workshop on what works, what doesn't on Syrian refugee resettlement efforts.
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When should a medical worker screen a Syrian refugee for post-traumatic stress disorder? And what cultural barriers do refugees face when accessing mental health services?
About 150 local medical health workers gathered at the Dominion-Chalmers United Church on Thursday to talk about caring for the influx of government-assisted Syrian refugees.
“Logistically, it has been very challenging,” said Tara Matte, of the Pinecrest Queensway Community Health Centre, which has been doing drop-ins at the hotels where government-assisted refugees are temporarily housed. “For the first three weeks, there were changes following every session … because the number of people changed, the schedules changed, (and) our availability of Arabic-speaking staff was a challenge.”
Apart from medical assessments, some doctors must also help refugees navigate Canada's health care system.
“I can write a prescription, send somebody out, but it doesn’t get filled because they don’t know what to do with it,” said Dr. Shaun Mattas, a Centretown Community Health Centre family physician.
Refugee 613, a non-profit organization coordinating the resettlement efforts, hosted the workshop after asking for a break from the flow of government-assisted refugees.
So far, little more than 1,000 refugees have landed in the nation’s capital – and most are government-assisted. This came as a surprise, said Refugee 613 director Louisa Taylor.
There will be other workshops for people interested in the Syrian refugee resettlement efforts, including one on housing.