Place, mobility and social support in refugee mental health

Nolas, Sevasti-Melissa; Watters, Charles; Pratt-Boyden, Keira and Maglajlic, Reima Ana. 2020. Place, mobility and social support in refugee mental health. International Journal of Migration, Health, and Social Care, 16(4), pp. 333-348. ISSN 1747-9894 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Purpose: This review and theoretical analysis paper brings together literatures of place, mobility, refugees, and mental health to problematize the ways in which social support is practised on the ground and to re-think its possibilities.

Approach: The paper draws on an interdisciplinary understanding of social support that focuses on the social networks, significant and intimate relationships which mitigate negative mental health and well-being outcomes. We explore the dialectic relationship between place and mobility in refugee experiences of social support.

Findings: We argue that, in a Euro-American context, practices of social support have historically been predicated on the idea of people-in-place. The figure of the refugee challenges the notion of a settled person in need of support and suggests that people are both in place and in motion at the same time. Conversely, attending to refugees’ biographies, lived experiences, and everyday lives suggests that places and encounters of social support are varied and go beyond institutional spaces.

Implications: We explore this dialectic of personhood as both in-place and in-motion and its implications for the theorisation, research and design of systems of social support for refugees.

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refugees, mental health, social support, place, mobility

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9 July 2020Accepted
24 September 2020Published Online

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Date Deposited:

17 Jul 2020 14:06

Last Modified:

15 Jun 2021 19:10

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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