Refugee resettlement: considerations of health and wellbeing
The process of migrating to a new country as a refugee involves adapting to different social and cultural realities, building new hopes and dreams, and may also involve responding to experiences of loss and trauma. Having refugee status affords access to critical support and resources from the 148 states signatory to the United Nations 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol (UNHCR, 2012). Australia and New Zealand are signatory to this convention and offer annual permanent resettlement opportunities for approximately 13,000 and 750 refugees respectively. The settlement process often means that people from different backgrounds are essentially thrust from one cultural reality into another without much preparation for this transition. This experience may involve adapting to different norms, legal expectations and social constructions on particular
1. To maintain critical perspectives on risk, vulnerability and wellbeing related to people’s experiences from refugee backgrounds;
2. To examine professional assumptions about trauma and highlight the need to understand the diverse pathways that people respond to adverse circumstances;
3. To discuss how a salutogenic focus can help identify potential ways of promoting health and wellbeing;
4. To acknowledge the need for collaborative practices when working with refugee communities.