Exploring the Impact of Resettlement on the Mental Health of Refugee Youths in Canada

Nishani S. Dookie Ms., Sheridan College


Refugee youths represent a growing demographic in Canada; highly vulnerable and constitutive of a population in need of better mental health support, post-resettlement. Accordingly, this research adopted a case study design to understand the impact of resettlement on the mental health of refugee youths through an exploration of their lived experiences. Data collection utilized a multi-method approach and included semi-structured interviews supplemented by participant-employed photography. The five participants who formed the sample were first-generation refugee youths between 15 and 24 years old who had been living in Canada for at least three years prior to this study. Through hermeneutic analysis, the data revealed that refugee youths tend to encounter mental health implications like spatial identity, survivor guilt, and emotional turmoil. Intriguingly, the data also revealed notions of cultural anosognosia which emerged through an amalgamation of studies within the disciplines of health sciences and anthropology. Thus, cultural anosognosia is presented in this study to describe the youths’ lack of insight or awareness of mental health concerns due to cultural upbringing. This research, therefore, highlights that whilst the challenges of resettlement are not collectively understood, there is a strong assertion of its profound impacts on the mental health of refugee youths in Canada.