Refugee Wellness Country Guide: Democratic Republic of Congo
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.
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The English language resource was created or reviewed by a medical professional for quality and accuracy.