A refugee from Syria will be speaking at a short course at TAFE NSW, focusing on her experienced as a forced immigrant to help students understand mental health issues facing refugees.
Najla Sbie fled Syria in 2012 and spent three years in Malaysia as a refugee before finally settling in Wollongong in 2015. She now works with Settlement Services International, a not-for-profit working with refugees, asylum seekers and culturally diverse communities.
Ms Sbie will be speaking to her own experiences with mental health during her journey as part of the one-day course. The course is aimed at helping mental health professionals and support services better work with immigrants and refugees.
Family and friends are such important support networks in Syria but when refugees come to Australia, all that is goneNajla Sbie
This comes after a BMC Psychiatry study found that over half of all refugees in Australia struggle with mental health conditions, particularly post-traumatic stress disorder.
With Griffith as one of the primary resettlement areas in regional NSW, it's more important than ever for the course to be delivered.
"Family and friends are such important support networks in Syria but when refugees come to Australia, all that is gone," Ms Sbie said.
"Add to that all the trauma they have endured and then all the other cultural changes, and it's no surprise many have issues ... It's important those in the support sector really understand this when engaging with Syrian people."
The course will be delivered by another former refugee, Ms Zeljka Cankovic. Ms Cankovic arrived in Australia in 1995, leaving what was Yugoslavia at the time.
Ms Cankovic said that the course would help the support sector work with all communities and people more effectively.
"The training is about making people more aware of the emerging communities we have here and the challenges they face," she said.
For more information on the course and enrolment options, call 13 16 01 or visit www.tafensw.edu.au.
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