Department of Health

Key messages

  • Refugees are vulnerable members of the community. They have a high risk of developing mental health problems due to trauma and loss experienced in their country of origin, or as a result of severe hardship while seeking asylum in Australia.

  • Mental health services for refugees tend to focus on specialist programs, such as the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture, or are part of general health and wellbeing promotion within refugee communities.

  • These health programs and community services are not part of Victoria’s specialist mental health service system, but they make referrals and enhance the participation of refugees in specialist mental health services.

Refugee mental health services in Victoria include specialist health programs and community services such as the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture, Victorian Transcultural Mental Health Service and the Refugee Health Program.

Victorian Transcultural Mental Health (VTMH)

Victorian Transcultural Mental Health (VTMH) is a statewide unit administered by St Vincent's Hospital that works with the mental health sector to integrate skills and practices to address inequality in mental health service provision. As a non-clinical unit with a primary focus on service development and mental health systems improvement, VTMH implements key national and state mental health diversity policies and priorities.

Torture and trauma counselling

Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture (Foundation House) provides torture and trauma counselling. It is a national leader in refugee healthcare, especially mental health, health promotion, and family and community strengthening. Foundation House works to improve the skills and competency of health care services providing treatment and care to refugees, and receives direct referral for both adults and children who have experienced torture, persecution or war-related trauma prior to their arrival in Australia.

Reviewed 29 May 2015


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