'Gun ons de tijd...' Werkboek psychosociale begeleiding bij hervestigde vluchtelingen / 'Grant us time...'. Manual psychosocial support to resettled refugees

Since 2010 resettled refugees are placed immediately after arrival in the Netherlands in their new hometown. It is usually the responsibility of the local counsellors of Dutch Council for Refugees to take care of resettled refugees and guide them as they arrive in their municipality. This manual is intended to help the counsellors when faced with psychosocial problems of (resettled) refugees. It concerns both psychological problems and social problems caused by them.

If you as a (voluntary) counsellor encountering such a situation, what can you do with it? What could be done by yourself and when to turn to others? And how exactly can you deal with such issues or monitor referrals? Read this practical guide and find answers to many questions that you may have - or at some point may be confronted with.

This workbook was developed in consultation with counsellors of DCR and their managers. Discussions with them identified the medical and behavioural problems they encounter and also clarified the way they use to deal with these situations. We also looked for experiences abroad with resettled refugees and the methods and tools that are proven effective in tackling such psychosocial problems among (resettled) refugees. The content of the manual proceeds from general information, through examples of practical situations, to concrete and practical tools that can be helpful in order to have good contact with the refugees themselves and with local caretakers and service providers. After outlining the new care model (Chapter 1), in Chapter 2 the concept of vulnerability as well as the scope of 'burdensome' and 'protective' factors which affect resettled refugees are discussed. Chapter 3 discusses in a structured way what a counsellor can do, i.e. how to deal with the complaints and problems of refugees. As such the first steps preferably have to be taken already before the arrival of a resettled refugee. In chapter 4, four cases (situations) are presented in a fixed format. It discusses topics such as physical and psychological symptoms, refugees with disabilities and high expectations parenting problems but also the avoidance of care (non compliance) and organizing cooperation in healthcare. Each of the cases ends with some lessons learned. The workbook concludes with a number of attachments. Some of these include tools that help counsellors to create fruitful contact with caregivers and resettled refugees as well. Good contact with a resettled refugee at the beginning of his stay in the new 'homeland' makes it more bearable. For a fresh start in a new country is not easy for anyone. But with support, guidance and good luck the resettled refugees and their children can regain their balance over time. They might even feel at home after some time!