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  1. Michael Muir
  1. BMJ Journals;

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    Speaking up for the silent

    Urgent attention to the mental health needs of refugee children is required and particularly to those who travel unaccompanied. (


    There are currently over 50 million refugees in the world. Over half of that number are children and, as they represent a silent group, they and their needs are easily overlooked. The authors highlight three key stages where psychological trauma is likely to occur to refugee children: (1) while in their country of origin; (2) during their attempted journey to a safe country, and (3) while trying to settle in that country. There is a high prevalence of emotional and behavioural disorders, with post-traumatic stress disorders, anxiety with sleep disorders, and depression representing the most common diagnostic classifications. Factors that enable high risk refugee children to be more psychologically resilient include having a supportive family environment, access to a reliable and stable external person or organisation, or positive personality characteristics.

    Unaccompanied children are a particularly vulnerable group and are more likely to be neglected, exploited, and …

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