Dealing with the mental wellbeing of refugees in a Dutch context. A study about prevention and mental health care to refugees in the region Gelderland-Zuid

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The mental wellbeing of refugees during integration is affected by post-migration factors. In the Netherlands, improving the mental wellbeing of ‘statusholders’ (i.e. refugees with a temporary residence permit) is benefitted by goodwill among organisational actors in the social domain, public health and mental health care sector. This study aims to examine whether the Dutch integration policy is truly inclusive and able to support this goodwill, by analysing the various barriers to the mental wellbeing of statusholders, as well as the challenge to organise prevention and mental health care. This study identifies four clusters of barriers: demand-oriented barriers, supply-oriented barriers, policy-oriented barriers and organisational barriers. These clusters are interrelated, except for the latter. By analysing these barriers, this thesis concludes that improving the statusholder’s mental wellbeing is characterised by practices of ‘othering’, due to a Western-centred approach, an abstract perception of culture, making overgeneralisation and a project-based or reactive approach to the ‘refugee crisis’. Since mental wellbeing and societal integration are interrelated, this implies that integration policy is contributing to exclusion. However, this study argues that these practices may be unintentional or not inherently negative, as demonstrated by the goodwill. Lastly, this thesis presents recommendations for both further research and policy.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen