Mental Health and Psychosocial Needs of Syrian Refugees: A Literature Review and Future Directions

  • Asli Cennet Yalim University at Buffalo
  • Isok Kim University at Buffalo
Keywords: Syrian refugees, refugee mental health, refugee crisis, refugee resettlement, psychosocial wellbeing, well-being


Since 2011, the Syrian refugee crisis has resulted in a massive displacement of Syrians, inside and outside of Syria. The enormous psychosocial needs of displaced Syrians have been documented by various reports and studies. With expected arrivals of Syrian refugees resettling in the United States in the near future, the intensity of the challenges for both resettlement agencies and the Syrian refugees themselves are expected to increase. A literature review was conducted for publications produced between March 2011 and January 2017. Academic and grey literature were explored to provide an overview of the psychosocial well-being and cultural characteristics of Syrians. Additionally, current models were analyzed to identify future directions for social work practice. It is vital to understand the Syrian refugee crisis through a multidisciplinary lens. Responding to the challenges found among Syrians requires deliberate consideration for sociocultural, historical, and political issues that uniquely describe them and their contexts. Identifying psychosocial needs may facilitate other aspects of resettlement outcomes, such as employment, education, and social integration. Incorporating a holistic model that reflects trauma-informed and human rights perspectives into clinical as well as policy practices is critical for better overall resettlement outcomes for Syrian refugees, and refugee populations in general.


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