Service Providers’ Experiences of Interpreter-Assisted Mental Health Care for People With Refugee Backgrounds

Elaheh Ghaemi Mahdavi, Clemence Due, Moira Walsh, Anna Ziersch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Lack of a common language is one of the major barriers to providing mental health services for people with refugee backgrounds. However, while research shows that using interpreters can present some challenges, there is little research that focuses on peoplewith refugee backgrounds, particularly research that considers the specific challenges and benefits related to interpreter-mediated mental health sessions. As such, this study aimed to investigate the experiences of both interpreters and mental health practitioners (MHPs) regarding the potential ways of improving interpreter-assisted mental health care for people with refugee backgrounds. Seventeen participants (eightMHPs and nine interpreters) working with refugees in Australia were interviewed. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis. Analysis returned four major themes: “importance of briefing and debriefing,” “interpreters as part of the therapeutic relationship” (with two subthemes—“trust” and “choosing the same interpreter”), “interpreter–client interactions,” and “specialized training.” This study found that interpreters have various roles and are a key part of the therapeutic relationship withMHPs and people with refugee backgrounds. Future studies should investigate training for both interpreters andMHPs, as well as developing new guidelines specific to interpreter-assisted mental health care for people with refugee backgrounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-212
Number of pages10
JournalProfessional Psychology: Research and Practice
Volume54
Issue number3
Early online date23 Feb 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2023

Keywords

  • interpreters
  • mental health care
  • refugees

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