34th Annual Meeting of ISTSS

Members of the RTRP team recently attended the 34th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) in Washington D.C, from November 8-10, 2018. We joined other researchers around the world discussing this year’s theme of how we can integrate traumatic stress research with practice and policy for vulnerable populations. Our team presented on our recent research on the different factors impacting on refugee mental health, including the mechanisms that may underlie refugee mental health, and potential targets for clinical interventions.

A special congratulations to our member, Philippa, for receiving the Honorable Mention of a Student Poster Award, for her research on evaluating how models of posttraumatic stress disorder may appropriately represent the experiences of refugees. This award recognises the significant contribution of an individual to the field of traumatic stress research - well done Philippa!

Beyond Survival: How storytelling can treat trauma in refugees

On Wednesday, in collaboration with the UNSW Grand Challenges, we had the pleasure of having Professor Frank Neuner shed light on the importance of understanding and addressing mental health issues in refugees. His treatment approach, Narrative Exposure Therapy, has become a gold standard treatment intervention for survivors of war, torture and natural disasters, and uses storytelling to help survivors process the challenges they have faced. As raised during the talk:

“We need to give the traumatic event a time and place in their [the individual’s] autobiography...to give the individual a voice.”