The longitudinal study—SettleMEN: Health and settlement among men from refugee backgrounds living in South East Queensland— was conducted by Dr Ignacio Correa-Velez and Professor Sandy Gifford from La Trobe University.
‘One third of refugee and humanitarian entrants to Australia are adult men. The most important implications of the SettleMEN study for policy makers, employers, service providers, and host communities is that economic participation underpins the wellbeing and successful integration of men from refugee backgrounds for their families and the whole Australian community.
‘Discrimination in rural and regional areas is a particular challenge that requires specific targeted strategies and whole of local government approaches,’ says Dr Correa-Velez.
Conducted between 2008 and 2010, the SettleMEN study followed a cohort of 233 recently arrived men from refugee backgrounds living in urban and regional areas of South East Queensland.
The study consisted of four surveys administered at six-month intervals with the participants. In addition, interviews were conducted over the last year of data collection with a sample of 28 participants.
These interviews aimed at exploring in more detail participants’ experiences of health and settlement.
Obtaining this evidence is highly important, particularly in the context of the recently developed Australian National Men’s Health Policy which has called for the need to build a strong evidence base on males at risk of poor health.
‘SettleMEN has shown that most participants reported good levels of subjective health status and mental health, low prevalence of health risk behaviours, and moderate to good levels of wellbeing on arrival to Australia.
‘However, levels of the men’s wellbeing decrease as they experience a range of barriers to their social participation and inclusion within their host community,’ says Dr Correa-Velez.
Multiple barriers, including discrimination, significantly hinder the ability for these men to secure work in Australia—even for those who have obtained tertiary or trade qualifications from Australian educational institutions.
‘Financial difficulties, difficulties accessing adequate housing, and experiences of racism and discrimination all impact negatively on men’s wellbeing, their status within their family and community, their satisfaction with life in Australia and their ability to settle successfully,’ says Dr Correa-Velez.
The study in full—SettleMEN: Health and settlement among men from refugee backgrounds living in South East Queensland—is available for download on the LaRRC website: www.latrobe.edu.au/larrc/news-events/news-items/final-report-on-refugee-mens-health-and-settlement-released
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