Multicultural Arts and Integrative Medicine: Empowering Refugees in the Healing Process
AbstractRefugees are people who move involuntarily from their country of residence often witnessing disasters, wars and the deaths of immediate family members prior to fleeing. In each of these instances, refugees experience traumatic situations that provoke strong reactions and emotions. This is often exacerbated by difficult refugee processing systems, detention and waiting in refugee camps, all of which make migration patterns and settlement processes for refugees are very different from those of other migrants. The psychological effects of the trauma experienced by refugees tend to be enduring and long-lasting. This paper explores the link between refugee mental health and wellbeing and multicultural arts in the tropics. The contention of the paper is that multicultural arts allows for sensitivity to a person’s identity, heritage and experience and is an important component of healing and well-being. The paper uncovers how multicultural arts enable a dialogue around issues with forced migration, powerlessness, humiliation and anger and promotes social inclusion and belonging. The paper concludes by arguing that multicultural and multidimensional approaches are needed to achieve an integrated approach to the mental health of refugees.
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