A qualitative study of a mental health awareness intervention for Jordanian and resettled Syrian refugees in host communities

Tara M. Powell, Najat Qushua

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Mental health disorders significantly contribute to the global burden of disease, however, prevention and treatment programs are often inaccessible in low- and middle-income countries. Aims: The goal of this qualitative evaluation was to examine participants experiences of the healthy community clinic (HCC-MH), an integrated mental health awareness intervention delivered in primary care clinics to Jordanians and resettled Syrians in a border community in Jordan. Methods: Four focus group discussions (FGDs) with Jordanians and Syrians (N = 21) who participated in the HCC-MH were conducted. FGDs examined knowledge, acceptability, and applicability of the intervention. Open coding and the constant comparison method were used to identify themes that emerged from the FGDs. Results: Six central themes emerged from the data including : (1) awareness; (2) behavior changes; (3) reduction in stigma; (4) connecting physical and mental health; (5) relationships; and (6) coping. Notably, female participants stated participation in the intervention fostered awareness of their own emotional needs, which led to positive lifestyle and behavior changes. Participants also described how the information provided in the intervention normalized emotional distress and aided understanding of the interconnection between physical and mental health. The amplification of healthy coping strategies to reduce stress and distress was also a prominent theme. Conclusions: Findings are discussed within the cultural and contextual setting of the study, and implications for mental health awareness interventions in complex settings are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)161-172
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Social Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2023


  • Mental health awareness
  • Syrian
  • evaluation
  • intervention
  • qualitative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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