As increasing numbers of unaccompanied refugee minors (URMs) are arriving in Europe, there is a need to investigate which factors promote psychological resilience and improve their mental health. This review aims to identify preventive post settlement influences, including living arrangements, access to mental health services, and effective treatments that may improve mental health outcomes. A systematic literature review was conducted of published papers in any language for children (< 18 years) entering a host country, unaccompanied and seeking asylum. Thirteen published quantitative studies were identified. URMs in more supportive living arrangements including foster care had lower risk of PTSD and lower depressive symptoms compared with those in semi-independent care arrangements. URMs living in reception settings that restricted freedom had more anxiety symptoms. In conclusion, higher support living arrangements with low restrictions are associated with lower psychological distress. Most URMs are not receiving psychological interventions, and there is a dearth of studies evaluating treatment effectiveness for this group. There is an urgent need for more research to investigate pathways to mental health services and treatment efficacy in this vulnerable group.
An important policy initiative implemented for the past 40 years in Canada, refugee private sponsorship has attracted international attention as Europe continues to grapple with