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CRIS, as part of its mental health screening and referral program in 2013, used the Refugee Health Screener 15 (RHS-15) tool to assess for anxiety, depression and PTSD during client intakes on newly arriving Bhutanese refugees in Ohio. CRIS’ analysis of the RHS-15 found that 38% of their Bhutanese refugees had screened positive for behavioral health issues. The rate in contrast was above the average score for all arriving refugees over 14 years-of-age by about 30%.
As a result, CRIS contacted the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) to request assistance with the emergent mental health problems besetting the Bhutanese refugees who resettled in Ohio. Consequently, CRIS with support of the Bhutanese Nepali Community of Columbus and OhioMHAS, undertook a field survey between July and August 2014 in Central Ohio.
This research was guided by three main objectives: (1) to examine the effects of trauma exposure on refugees’ behavioral health, with particular focus on anxiety, depression, PTSD, substance use, and other post-migration issues among adult Bhutanese refugees in Ohio; (2) to develop culturally appropriate outreach strategies and informational sessions for Bhutanese refugees based on specific barriers to health and wellness; and (3) to pursue meaningful outreach strategies to specific groups within the Bhutanese refugee population depending on where the greatest needs are demonstrated.
(Suggested Citation: Adhikari, S. B., Yotebieng, K., Acharya, J. N., & Kirsch, J. (2015). Epidemiology of Mental Health, Suicide and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among Bhutanese Refugees in Ohio, 2014. Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Community Refugee and Immigration Services. Columbus, Ohio, USA.)