What constitutes treatment? Re-thinking mental health practice for refugees

Presenter: Dr. Clare Pain, MD, FRCPC, D.Sc (Hons); Director of the Psychological Trauma Program, Mount Sinai Hospital; Psychiatrist, CAMH New Beginnings Clinic for Refugees.
Date: Wed., Oct. 12, 2016

Note: The recording is missing a few minutes from the beginning of the webinar. To start the presentation, Dr. Pain asked the question "Do traumatized refugees need psychiatric services?" and noted that:

  1. Taumatic experience is a social issue - and requies a social solution
  2. We over- and under-call the salience of traumatic experiences in the lives of our patients... these experiences are ubiquitous but may not be obvious.
  3. Stabilitzation is stage one of any trauma treatment; it settles distress and reveals what may or may not need more or different treatment

Dr. Pain then showed the following video, accompanied by the question "Does this man need psychiatric treatment for trauma?"

Watch introductory video: Scisa Rumenge



Mental health is often cited as an important issue that needs to be addressed among newly arrived refugees. This language and dominant dialogue prompts us to assume that refugees should receive psychiatric treatment from a psychiatrist or mental health specialist, and that this treatment should consist of medication and evidence-based trauma therapy.

In this webinar, Dr. Clare Pain will put refugee trauma in context and discuss how meticulous attention to settlement issues provides the most important "treatment" to promote mental health and recovery among refugees.

Learning objectives:

At the end of this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Discuss refugee trauma and recovery in the context of resettlement
  • Describe effective interventions for reducing refugee distress

Presenter Biography

Dr. Clare Pain is an Associate Professor at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto; Director of the Psychological Trauma Program at Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto; Consultant at the Canadian Center for Victims of Torture (CCVT) and at the CAMH New Beginnings Clinic for Refugees.

Dr. Pain's clinical focus is on the assessment and treatment of patients, including refugees, who continue to suffer from the effects of psychological trauma. She has lectured and taught on various aspects of psychological trauma including trans-cultural aspects and global mental health. She has published a number of articles and three books.

Dr. Pain is also Co-project director of the Toronto Addis Ababa Psychiatry Project (TAAPP) and Coordinator of the University of Toronto-Addis Ababa Collaboration Program (TAAAC). She received an honorary PhD from Addis Ababa University in 2014, for her work in mental health.

Clare Pain