Refugee Wellness Country Guide: Democratic Republic of Congo

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Abstract:

This two-page guide is intended for service providers working with resettled refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It contains a timeline, statistics, and an overview of the civil war, ongoing armed conflicts, and war trauma that civilians experience, including high rates of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). It provides background about the refugee situation and the limited mental health services in the camp settings, clarifying that sexual violence and mental illness are highly stigmatized in the DRC. Tips for resettlement workers and mental health professionals are provided, such as building trust between client, interpreter, and counselor, the need for group and individual therapy as options for survivors of sexual violence, culture-specific terms to describe mental health concerns, and an outline of individual ethnic groups in the DRC. The guide describes how decades of conflict and mass atrocities have devastated its healthcare, legal, and social services system, leaving many untreated health issues and complex trauma symptoms. The role of churches and faith-based institutions in healthcare service provision is discussed, as well as the importance of the family unit, traditional community support networks, and commonly utilized mental health interventions, including traditional medicine.

The copyright for this document is owned by Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services. This resource should not be modified, or reproduced, displayed, or distributed for commercial purposes or financial gain.

We have obtained permission from Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services to provide this material.

Author(s):
Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services
Medical Review:
Yes
The English language resource was created or reviewed by a medical professional for quality and accuracy.
Development Method:
Resource in English Only
Translation Review:
N/A
Country:
Congo, Democratic Republic of (DRC)
Population:
Bantu, Hutu, Tutsi, Banyamulenge, Bembe, Bashi
Keywords:
Mental Health, Refugees, Sex offenses, Traditional Medicine, Violence, Warfare
Copyright:
Copyrighted
Date Last Reviewed:
11/8/2016
Reviewed By:
Author/Agency

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