IOM Tunisia Hosts Workshop on Psychosocial Health of Migrants

Posted: 
05/06/16
Themes: 
Migration Health

Tunisia - IOM this week hosted a workshop: “Migrant Well-being: Psychosocial Assistance to Migrants in Tunisia”. The event coincided with publication of a study: “Evaluation of socio-economic and health vulnerabilities of migrants for effective access to health services in Tunisia” carried out by Tunisia’s National Office of Family and Population (ONFP) and supported by IOM.

The workshop, funded by the IOM Development Fund (IDF), aimed to raise awareness in the public sector and civil society about the importance of psychosocial assistance to support vulnerable migrants. Participants included representatives from various ministries, UN agencies and NGOs.

The important relationship between migration and mental health is sometimes overlooked, but the migration process often affects the psychological state of the migrant. It is not migration itself, but a unique combination of backgrounds, socio-economic conditions and socio-cultural integration and adaptation in the new system that contributes to the mental wellbeing of migrants.

Providing psychosocial assistance can reduce their vulnerability, enhance their resilience, integration and reintegration, according to the head of IOM’s mental health, Guglielmo Schinina, who spoke at the workshop. Other speakers included representatives of the National Institute of Labour and Social Studies, UNICEF and civil society actors.

Topics included the work of the Ministry of Social Affairs and NGOs in support of vulnerable migrants, initiatives carried out by IOM in the framework of the SALEMM project "Solidarity with Children of the Maghreb and Mashreq", and activities conducted by UNICEF in support of displaced children and families in southern Tunisia, as well as among families who have fled the conflict in Libya.

Speakers emphasized on the need to ensure universal access to health services and the need to integrate migrants within the national health system through information and capacity building for health service providers and structures.

Tunisia’s National Office of Family and Population (ONFP) and IOM also this week presented the results of the study “Evaluation of socio-economic and health vulnerabilities of migrants for an effective access to health services in Tunisia”.

The study, conducted as part of IOM’s European Union-funded project: " Stabilisation of Communities at Risk and Strengthen Migration Management in Order to Support the Transitions in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya (START)”, collected information on the socio-economic and health vulnerabilities of migrants and highlights recommendations for improving access to health for migrants during their migratory cycle in Tunisia.

For further details, please contact Lorena Lando at IOM Tunisia, Email: llando@iom.int, Tel. +216 71 860 312.