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Keywords:

  • asylum seekers;
  • care coordination;
  • mental health;
  • nursing;
  • trust

This paper is the second in a two-part series dedicated to mental health needs of refugees and asylum seekers. Against a background of selective review of literature and context in paper 1, this paper describes practical steps in meeting the mental health needs of refugees and asylum seekers. Nurses see refugees and asylum seekers at the very point of their distress—often outside of or external to immigration detention facilities. Practical strategies are presented for the generation of trust and supportive counselling with implications drawn for nurses working across a range of practice settings, such as in accident and emergency departments, psychiatric clinics, community-health centres and as general practice nurses. Continuity and integration of mental health care is achieved by bridging discrete elements in the asylum seeker journey through legal reviews, news from home and ongoing psychosocial stressors, in the context of different episodes, interventions by different providers or changes in illness status. Also important will be actions that build resilience intrinsically over time, such as the asylum seeker's values, sustained supportive interpersonal relationships and therapeutic care plans.