Supporting Child Refugees in Educational Settings

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For this podcast, for Refugee Week, we are joined by Dr. Tina Rae, Consultant Educational and Child Psychologist and ACAMH Board Member.

The focus of this podcast is on child refugees and how best to support them within educational settings.

Tina talks to us about trauma and mental health as it relates to child and adolescent refugees and sets the scene by detailing what tends to happen in terms of initial entry into schooling, and education, when it comes to child and adolescent refugees.

Tina then discusses if schools do, or should, play a role in assessing and providing for the mental health needs of child and adolescent refugees and explores what more can be done to give staff training in this area.

Tina shares her advice and tips for teachers and teaching assistants who have pupils who are refugees, comments on what they can do to help these students settle into school life, plus talks about what other children at the school can do, or be encouraged to do, to help ease the process for their peers.

Furthermore, Tina also shares tips for educational psychologists who are working with children who are refugees and explores what we have learnt from the research in terms of need and best practice regarding the mental wellbeing of child and adolescent refugees within the context of educational settings.

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Dr. Tina Rae
Dr. Tina Rae

Dr. Tina Rae has 40 years’ experience working with children, adults, and families in clinical and educational contexts within local authorities and specialist services. She is currently working as a Consultant Educational and Child Psychologist in a range of SEMH and mainstream contexts and for fostering agencies as a Consultant Psychologist supporting foster carers, social workers and looked after children. She was an Academic and Professional tutor for the Doctorate in Educational and Child psychology (University of East London) from 2010-16. She is a registered member of the Health and Care Professions Council, a member of ENSEC (European Network for Social and Emotional Competence) and a former trustee of Nurture UK.

Dr Tina Rae was winner of the Education book of the year education resources award (ERA) and a finalist of the Special needs resource of the year education resources award for her publication Rae, T. & Such, A. (2019) The ASD Girls’ Wellbeing Toolkit an Evidence based Intervention Promoting Mental, Physical & Emotional Health Buckingham: Hinton House Publishers. She also won an award from the Health Service Journal (HSJ) 2015 for contributions to the Time 2 Talk (T2T) project which aims to increase understanding about mental health and emotional wellbeing amongst young people in school, to challenge barriers to accessing support and tackle the stigma regarding self-harm, mental health, and emotional distress. A further notable honour from National Association of Special Educational needs (NASEN) was presented for the publication co-authored with Dr Rachael Hayes: Rae, T., & Hayes, R. (2009) Keeping Out of Trouble a Preventive Approach for Secondary Students London: Optimus Publishers. This won the first prize in the Secondary Resource/Book to support teaching and learning (non-ICT). This publication is a preventative programme for teenagers who are at risk of offending.

This recognition as an expert at a national level is further evidenced by Dr Rae’s contributions to the DfE funded project: Coughlan, B.J. & Rae, T. (2012) Training Resources for special education in the 21st century Module 3.4: Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health London: Department for Education (

Tina is a member of the editorial board for the journal Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties and for the International Journal of Nurture in Education. She is also a member of the Advisory board for Fresh Start in Education.

Tina is a prolific author and has over 100 publications to date. These reflect her ongoing passion for developing practical resources for schools which have an evidence base and enable practitioners to ethically deliver effective preventative mental health interventions in schools.


[00:00:32.050] Jo Carlowe: Hello. Welcome to the In Conversation podcast series for the Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health or ACAMH for short. I’m Jo Carlowe, a freelance journalist with a specialism in psychology. To tie-in with Refugee Week, June 22, I’m interviewing Consultant Educational and Child Psychologist, Dr. Tina Rae, who is a board member of ACAMH.

Tina has 40 years’ experience working with children and families in clinical and educational contexts. The focus of today’s podcast is on child refugees, and how best to support them within educational settings. If you’re a fan of our In Conversation series, please subscribe on your preferred streaming platform. Let us know how we did with the rating or review. And do share with friends and colleagues.

Tina, thank you for joining me. Can you start with a brief introduction about who you are and what you do?

[00:01:20.855] Dr. Tina Rae: Thanks very much for inviting me to take part in this series. I’m also a fan. I’m an educational child psychologist, as you said, and I focus primarily on mental health and well-being of children and young people. And it’s been my passion for over 40 years now, both as a teacher prior to becoming a psychologist and as a psychologist. I’m also an author, and I’ve written over 100 publications to date. I committed to providing evidence-based and very user-friendly practical resources for those in schools and in social care contexts to promote the well-being of children and young people, and engage them in effective preventative work. So more recently, my work’s been focused upon looked after communities and their carers, and also refugee children and their families.

[00:02:08.902] Jo Carlowe: We’re going to focus on the mental health needs of child refugees, and the role of educational settings, but it would be helpful if you could start by telling us about trauma and mental health as it relates to child and adolescent refugees.

[00:02:23.210] Dr. Tina Rae: So we know the effects of traumatic experiences on children and young people are really quite sobering. But not all of them are going to be affected in the same way or to the same degree. Young people and their families do possess competencies psychological resources and resilience, often in the face of really significant trauma, including war and conflict. And this can ultimately protect them from longer term harm. We also know that teaching young children and young people the skills of resiliency, providing them with those opportunities to bounce back and renew themselves even in the face of adversity, has become a fundamental ability. And there’s a great deal of research now on resilience in young people, which demonstrates that one of the most essential protective factors for them is a significant adult, usually a parent, a caregiver, or someone in the school context. I usually call them an emotionally available adult who can support and nurture them. And I think for our refugee children at this current time, this is more important than ever, because we know that it will be a significant factor to consider this trauma when we’re beginning to develop levels of interventions and support interventions in school, which can actually hopefully fully integrate them.

I think they do have a more elevated risk for psychological difficulties and other newcomers. We know this from the research of Kim et al, 2018. And they are less likely to be prepared for migration and more likely to have limited or interrupted education prior to arriving in the host country. So their education will have been possibly for some non-existent, and for others, extremely interrupted. We also know that the level of trauma that they’ve experienced, so the number of very traumatic experiences and the intensity of those, there is more likelihood of them developing significant psychological distress. So there’s going to be, at the top end of the continuum, a very real need for specialist intervention therapeutic support. From my perspective as well, there is really important, I think, for schools to understand that there is a real risk if those children have been exposed to violence in their home country. This is possibly the most significant risk factor for subsequent healthy psychological development. So any kind of integration process in a school context has to really focus on safety and security initially, alongside the development of social support in both school and social contexts. These are the things that really have the most positive impact on a child or young person who’s experienced such trauma.

The one thing that I would say is a very clear and pertinent message to school-based staff in particular is that it is absolutely vital that we understand the specific needs of individual refugee children, because they are not all the same. And there’s so much research from Ehntholt and Yule, Kim, et al. That shows us this fact. They are very different in terms of their psychological presentation. So it’s very important that we have a phased model of integration with appropriate support systems for each individual. And also obviously, British Psychological Society’s guidelines for psychologists working refugees and asylum seekers in the UK is really, really helpful in supporting us to develop the right kind of interventions, but also emphasizing the need not for us to pathologize all these children. Because we know there’s a growing evidence base now that suggests that really schools themselves as institutions, as sanctuaries, as places of safety are the most appropriate place to identify, address, and ultimately meet the needs of our refugee children. Because we can build their levels of resilience, increase their capacity for learning, and also the stability, routine, and the security that school offers every day is a very, very key factor. It provides the structure that has been missing that sense of safety. My mantra at the moment is that school is the best medicine, and it’s really important to hold on to this fact when we are attempting to reintegrate them and support them to engage in post-trauma growth really.

[00:06:28.962] Jo Carlowe: I want to sort of drill into the detail about the integration into schools, and the role of schools. But before we go there, I just wondered if you could set the scene for us. So when it comes to child and adolescent refugees, what tends to happen in terms of their initial entry into schooling and education?

[00:06:48.510] Dr. Tina Rae: There is obviously at the outset an assessment undertaken. And I think this is really, really important as to the needs of that individual child or young person. And from my perspective, six key areas that most schools who are engaging in what I would call or consider best practice will actually focus on in particular six main areas of support. And I think they all have to be addressed in order to ensure this effective transition. And this is generally what happens in the best institutions. From my perspective initially, this is about asking for help and support. So schools will seek that support out from psychological services, they’ll be sharing best practice, and they will be asking parents and carers of the refugee children to assist in terms of key terminology coming to school with their children, providing support and key practical terms in terms of translation, because the language is usually the biggest barrier to a child feeling safe and supported.

And also I think there is always going to be an induction process. And that really does entail not only supporting the child in terms of language, giving them the opportunities to talk, being very sensitive to what they may or may not want to talk about, ensuring that we find out about religious or dietary requirements, that they have the names of other pupils that they can go to who will support them who act as their peer supporters. Familiarizing them, for example, with the layout of the school, the playground, making videos, and actually making use of someone who can translate into the child’s home language very, very important. Schools are really, really good at that practical element. And also many now are employing or liaising with the local authority to actually ensure that they have a liaison officer in charge who can go into the refugee family’s home context, and really explain the school process, et cetera.

Alongside this, I think all schools in terms of ensuring that kids have a good induction will create a climate where they feel welcomed. So the signage, the introduction to the school. Everything is in dual language. And I think as well using drama puppets, art mime, pictorially based tasks, lots of visuals, photographs, charts, flow diagrams, storyboards, maps, et cetera. Things that actually make things accessible, which aren’t based upon language. And then organization in the classroom. There will always be children who are there acting as helpers, who will share resources, who will engage in discussion around their common experiences of change, moving home, et cetera. Most importantly, understanding very, very much about the fact that for some of those children, they will not want to talk, and they will need to have and engage in what we would call a silent period for some time. And that’s very, very important, because I think very often, there can be this tendency to want to jump in to support emotionally, to provide therapeutic support. And as I said earlier, that’s not always what’s necessary. For most of these children and young people, what they really need is just to feel as though they are part of a school community again. There’s some normality for them. For me is really, really vital that we don’t lose sight of the skills that other children do have.

[00:09:52.170] Jo Carlowe: Alongside meeting these practical needs and familiarization for children, do or should schools also play a role in assessing and providing for their mental health needs?

[00:10:03.595] Dr. Tina Rae: Absolutely. Just as they do now for all their children. And we know from Ofsted that schools now are providing far more in terms of therapeutic interventions for children and young people. And so there is a huge amount of good practice out there. And there are many people who are highly skilled. And often, they will gain the support from their education, child psychology service too. So alongside those six main areas of support and engaging in watchful waiting around some children. There will be school-based staff who are really able to deliver interventions too. And I think that is very, very important. The school’s mental health lead, for example, and the child psychologist for the school, I think, is very, very important. They will support school-based staff in making use of tools from CBT, making use of tools from narrative therapy, engaging in a whole area of support in terms of co-regulation, self-regulation skills, creating safe spaces, calm corners for child and young person, so that they can actually work with those significant therapeutic adults in order to gain a sense of safety and peace.

I don’t think in any sense, school-based staff would describe themselves as being able to deliver a therapy. And that’s absolutely essential to make that key distinction here, but they are able to work in a nurturing way, which makes use of some of those tools. So I can, for example, witness a teaching assistant or an ELSA in a school who will engage with the child, helping them to regulate teaching and deep breathing, doing some mindfulness work because they’ve had the training, doing some challenging, cognitive reframing, some challenging of negative automatic thoughts, teaching them how to actually use an anxiety ladder to make an anxiety plan. Very practical tools and strategies that you don’t have to be a therapist, but you do have to be therapeutically aware. And also I would suggest when doing any kind of CBT-based interventions, and there are many out there that they can use such as Think Good, Feel Good, from Paul Stallard, that they are also accessing supervision from the school psychologist as well. I think also they will, with the support of the school’s educational and child psychologists, actually take part in assessment processes. And there are many tools out there in terms of social phobia, anxiety inventory, they can use the social anxiety scale for children, the fear survey schedule, multidimensional anxiety scale, et cetera. So lots of these are available, and they’re able to use, but with support from the psychologist around interpretation and where to go to next in terms of intervention.

[00:12:40.330] Jo Carlowe: Some of the measures you’ve described presumably apply to all children, to the general population. Is there something specific or different when working with refugee children?

[00:12:50.390] Dr. Tina Rae: My go to resource really is going to be the Children of War Foundation website, which is absolutely excellent. And I think for them, they have about three different resources, which are translated into a number of different languages, which you can use to actually assess anxiety, fear, social anxiety, and phobias as well. But I think it’s really, really important, particularly to screen for child anxiety related emotional disorders, very, very important. Many of these things have been updated and revised. I know this. But they have also been translated. So it’s much, much easier to make use of them. But again, I’d be very clear about this. I would thoroughly recommend the support of the school’s psychologist in order to actually, not just deliver it, but also to interpret afterwards and to think about what the intervention should then look like.

[00:13:39.770] Jo Carlowe: What about school staff generally? You’ve mentioned training, do most staff have good training in this area? And if not, what more needs to be done?

[00:13:48.930] Dr. Tina Rae: I think it’s relatively variable if I’m honest, because with the advent of mental health leads and schools’ initiative from DfE 2018, there is far more awareness of mental health, and there is far more ongoing training in terms of actually thinking about well-being, thinking about mental health in schools. And I think it’s important to remember that although access to therapy is not seen as the norm in the majority of educational contexts, this increase in mental health difficulties, particularly related to the COVID pandemic, I would suggest in the last couple of years, has made people far more aware of the need to gain a basic knowledge base of therapeutic approaches, what does and doesn’t work. The increase in self-harm and eating disorders in particular has been phenomenal. I mean, NHS monitoring over the last two years has shown us this, and it’s increased predominantly in younger children and in boys. So I do think that mental health needs in schools designated safeguarding leads and the SENCo do have a key role in terms of training for the whole staff team. Interestingly, from my perspective, what is very important to factor into our thinking is that at the school-based level, people who are ultimately being asked to engage with vulnerable children and those with anxiety are teaching assistants, probably some of the most lowest paid individuals in the whole school community.

And so it’s vital that they, I think, have the right kind of support from the psychological services that are available and within the school. And I think it is important because there is something quite empowering about some of the research. I mean, Barrett and Turner did a trial in which they actually showed that teachers were shown to have as much, if not more positive results, dare I say it in psychologists, as group leaders in implementing the same intervention for anxious children. The argument being here is that these people have already built up nurturing relationships with these children. And for me, that is absolutely vital. The fact that they have that relationship already, the child feels safe and nurtured immediately. There is that connection, there’s that sense of compassion, and that’s absolutely vital. And it’s really important. And again, I’m not seeking to promote the role of the teacher or the TA as a therapist, but what I am saying is that they are, and they can be much more effective in identifying and supporting those needs.

However, I do think that really the best way to manage anxiety is to address those feelings that underlie it. Trauma-informed schools’ programs are doing an absolutely amazing job in terms of supporting school-based staff to develop that curious listening, and to be really empathetic, and to be very able to help a child to develop that narrative to allow them to feel safely by talking about those fears, those anxieties, those scary things that happen to them that actually cause the anxiety.

[00:16:32.560] Jo Carlowe: What advice do you have or tips for teachers and teaching assistants who have pupils who are refugees? What can they do to help these students settle into school line?

[00:16:43.720] Dr. Tina Rae: Well, alongside those practical elements, those six keys to ensuring an effective transition, I think there’s also a real need to make sure that they are trauma informed. It’s the real imperative in my view. Now at the outset, this is the absolute essential. Kindness nurturing and compassion are key. And I’d be saying to people please don’t panic here at the outset. There’s so much that you are already doing that is just simply good common-sense psychology. And it’s good best practice. And I think that that’s very important.

There is a lot of very, very good practice in terms of trauma-informed classrooms, how to set those up, how to ensure that children feel safe, and that they belong. There’s much more training in terms of mental health awareness as I said. Nearly all the schools that I’ve worked in have support available in terms of grief, loss, and bereavement. There is support for critical incidents. People are being trained up to be these emotionally available adults, not always in the most coherent or the best way. But they are. There is I think more training available from mental health leads and schools in particular assisted by psychology teams around understanding anxiety, setting up safe spaces and corners. Just building those– the knowledge and strategies. The key tip really for me is that share your knowledge, share your resources. At the moment when people say I feel at a loss, there is a great deal of good practice out there. And it’s about actually getting into a network to share that.

And also supporting the refugee family is something that I think sometimes teachers can overlook, the importance of that, because getting the families on board and establishing parent support groups is really, really effective because immediately you have that connection between home and school, you can reduce the anxiety and the fear factor for those refugee parents who must feel so immensely worried, and that kind of disconnect in terms of actually having to be apart from your child when you’ve been holding them so close to you, so tightly as you get to this country with an inordinate amount of fear that, that attachment is very, very strong. So actually enabling them to go into school and be away from you, I think they need a huge amount of support themselves. And I think school can be a very safe, nurturing place in which to provide group interventions. That gives those refugee parents an opportunity, not just to share their experiences of raising children living in the UK now, but also offering mutual support, sharing tools, and strategies, practical resources, emotional support. And getting to really gain a deeper understanding and knowledge of those educational systems in this country. Very often, I think school-based staff can make use of their EP teams again, educational child psychologists have a significant role to play here. They know the psychology, they understand the education system. So they can also provide, I think, that kind of consultation model of support in a group context, where they can talk about anxiety, how to manage flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, that kind of level of anxiety, attachment issues, behavioural problems. And just understanding various professionals in the school context, how they work, what their roles are, what services can help them.

[00:19:56.040] Jo Carlowe: I was wondering about children within schools, non-refugee children, the Indigenous population who’s here. Is there anything they can do or that they can be encouraged to do to help ease the process for their peers?

[00:20:10.060] Dr. Tina Rae: I’m absolutely convinced that children and young people are key to nurturing other children and young people, as well as the adults. They can make them and ensure that they feel safe. And I think that, that is absolutely essential in my view that they are used in the right way. But in order to do that, in order to use them in the right way, to provide that circle of support, to help them in terms of language, accessing the curriculum, I mean, they do that all the time for other children with special educational needs, children who are vulnerable, have anxiety, children coming back into school who’ve got emotionally based school avoidance.

These are kind of well-known tools and strategies that they will use. But I think in order to do this effectively, they also need to be educated prior to this on what it actually means to be a refugee, how to understand why people become refugees, where they come from the difference between refugees and asylum seekers and other migrants. Why they come to the UK, why they come to your city or your town. Why some are destitute, why they need protection. And I think this is really, really important to seek out very useful resources, children and young people, which aim to tackle stigma, because that is a huge issue. Let’s just look at the media and what goes on social media and what we’re presented with. So I think it’s really important to really provide them with very good evidence-based tools, education that really factors into its thinking what a refugee really is, the differences between asylum seekers and refugees, why asylum seekers need protection. And really tackle underlying stigma, so that when we do develop this role of a helper, those children are really willing and able to do it. And I do have to say I do think in the main, children and young people are much better at this than the adults, because they haven’t developed a lot of those prejudices that possibly some of the grown ups have, dare I say it.

[00:22:01.825] Jo Carlowe: You’ve already talked about educational psychologists. Do you have any particular tips for educational psychologists who are working with children who are refugees?

[00:22:11.000] Dr. Tina Rae: I think that they need to be very aware of their skill set, and the fact that they have so much to offer in terms of not just working individually one-to-one with children and young people, but also in the support that they can provide to the school-based staff team, and also to the refugee parents in leading on that the initiatives, particularly around those support groups for refugee parents. But also they have, I think, an understanding of narrative therapy.

Many of them will be trained in the tree of life approach. So that emanates obviously from narrative therapy. And I think that that’s very, very important. There are many templates available online for that intervention. But I think it’s important people just don’t pick it up without additional training and input, and understand how to use it, because I think that this is a very, very powerful tool for actually working individually to help a child make sense of their journey, their experience to create their story, their narrative over say five or six sessions.

But really, really important that psychologists can and do use that kind of intervention as and when it’s needed with individual children. I think also that there is something very powerful about using tools and strategies that are emanating from cognitive behavioural therapy that are not CBT too, and actually modelling that for school-based staff, so that they understand how they can make use of those tools effectively in a safe way. I think there’s a real, real element here of the EP taking on the role of the trainer, the support person for those people in schools, because they’re not there on a daily basis delivering. The other people are. And they have got the skill set to do that. And they’ve also I think got the skill set to provide really good training around mental health, around anxiety, grief, loss, bereavement, critical incidents, solution-focused approaches, for example, and mindfulness. Many of them are trained up particularly in CBT now. I think my key message to people is get skilled up, recognize the skill set that you do have, and really sit down and reflect upon how you can use that in the schools that you support.

[00:24:22.257] Jo Carlowe: Tina, when it comes to the mental well-being of child and adolescent refugees within the context of educational settings, what have we learned from the research in terms of need and best practice and so on?

[00:24:35.670] Dr. Tina Rae: I said this previously. I do think that ensuring the six main areas of support are met is key. These are based on the research. There’s an evidence-base. Those six keys were identified from research originally undertaken in 2004 by then, the National Union of Teachers. So I think that’s vital. But ultimately, the most important message that comes from the research, in my view, is that trauma can be healed through nurture.

Changes in the brain will happen through these positive relationships, and the sense of safety and security that is created for most of these children and young people who are refugees. And I think it’s really important to remember this best practice tends to be underpinned by this fact. And I have said this previously. School is the best medicine, in essence. And the research tells us this quite clearly. Providing routine structure, safety, compassion, recognizing the individual, and not generalizing so as to then provide this bespoke intervention some may need is what really needs to happen. This is what constitutes best practice, and this is what the research does tell us ultimately.

[00:25:42.890] Jo Carlowe: So given what is known about best practice, what is your message to educational leaders and policy makers?

[00:25:50.750] Dr. Tina Rae: Without being politically incorrect, at this moment in time, I think we need to provide the right resources, and more are needed to support mental health of children and young people in schools in general. Everyone who works in mental health in terms of working with children and young people in schools and outside of schools know that there’s a huge issue here in terms of unmet needs, and the fact that the actual resources are so incredibly limited, alongside this ongoing trauma, the COVID pandemic, and the increase in mental health difficulties. And I think this is as the result of lockdowns, but also that inability to socialize, the lack of social contact in community. I think children and young people really now, on top of this, are being exposed to this trauma of war, which on a daily basis, there’s stuff on the news that I think can be very triggering for some particular refugee children, but also for children and young people. So there’s a huge difficulty here, and a real massive problem developing, because I think it’s as if this collective trauma has been doubled almost in a very short space of time since this war erupted.

Added to this, we’re now navigating the arrival and transition of thousands of refugee children into our country and education system. So I think my message is simple basically. It’s to listen to those who are trying to give this support, find out what they need, and provide the financial support. There’s a moral imperative to do this in my view.

[00:27:20.023] Jo Carlowe: Tina, as you mentioned earlier, you’re a prolific author of educational resources. You’ve already recommended some resources. Can you recommend any other resources for our listeners who work in education with refugee children and adolescents?

[00:27:34.790] Dr. Tina Rae: Yep, I think starting with storybooks, it’s always a good place to start, because not only for refugee children to read about people’s experiences that are similar to theirs, that make them feel that this is something that other people experience, that it has been– there’s a kind of normalization process, but also to educate our children and young people I think is vital. And there are huge number of resources. Some of them for early years, such as The Color of Home by Mary Hoffman, The Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter. That’s for 5 to 11-year-olds. Also The Silence Seeker. There’s a wonderful book by Benjamin Zephaniah called the Refugee Boy. Again, that’s also includes a range of session plans for schools, for children and young people aged 11 plus. And then The Other Side of the Truth, again that’s from Beverely Naidoo. I think there are a lot of really good useful publications and training resources available on the Children and War Foundation. One of those is the resource which is called Writing for Recovery Manual. And again, this is kind of narrative therapy. It’s all based on writing for recovery from the work of Pennebaker.

There is a huge amount of resource available again online which people can download in terms of helping them to develop tools and strategies on CBT approaches, calming approaches. And I think there are a plethora of resources to support staff in educating themselves about trauma, the impact of trauma, and how to support children with anxiety. So Perry and Ham written the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics. Again, stress trauma post-traumatic stress disorders, that’s an introduction from Perry. I have produced a range of tools and strategies to support staff in schools in using therapeutic tools, including essential guides to mindfulness solution-focused therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, positive psychology. And I think people don’t have to feel overwhelmed, because there are a huge number of really useful practical resources that will help at this current time.

[00:29:39.573] Jo Carlowe: Tina, is there anything else in the pipeline for you that you would like to tell us about?

[00:29:44.270] Dr. Tina Rae: Yes, I just finished. Yesterday, we had the first draft all through of a new publication which is around talking to young children and young people about war, and also supporting children and young people who have experienced trauma and war and are refugees. This is going to be published in probably November by Routledge. I’m really delighted that this is happening. I’ve had fantastic support from Aardvark, who are the designers, who have given their time pro-bono to this. So they’ve made this book an absolutely beautiful resource, very, very accessible. So there are six chapters here. One is around talking to children and young people about war and conflict, how to that effectively, how to thought track, et cetera et cetera. So really practical. Understanding trauma in the second chapter is also an essential. So going through early childhood trauma, the symptoms, advice for adults working with children who’ve been traumatized. Then a specific focus on refugee children and young people. So much of what I’ve said today in this podcast around the six main areas of support, using key tools to create safe spaces, using tools to move from hyper arousal to the window of tolerance, et cetera and vice versa. Tree of life, physical activities, loss and bereavement support.

There are also chapters on self-care, and the role of refugee parents and carers, and how they can support their children. Addressing some of their needs in terms of sleep issues, PTSD, specifically thinking about how they manage irritation, anger, guilt, problems with working memory, concentration. And then the final two chapters are a series of useful practical handouts for children and young people, and for carers and professionals. So eminently practical user-friendly, and so needed at this current point in time.

[00:31:44.908] Jo Carlowe: And what’s the title of this particular resource?

[00:31:47.450] Dr. Tina Rae: It’s going to be called “Understanding and Supporting Refugee Children and Young People, and those Exposed to the Trauma of War.” And the subtitle is “A Practical Resource for Professionals, Parents, and Carers.”

[00:32:02.403] Jo Carlowe: Brilliant. And that will be out this autumn?

[00:32:04.730] Dr. Tina Rae: Yes, it will be, definitely.

[00:32:06.530] Jo Carlowe: Finally, Tina, what is your takeaway message for those listening to our conversation?

[00:32:11.630] Dr. Tina Rae: I think it’s important or rather essential at this time that we don’t panic. There’s a real need to focus on strengths and promote the sharing of resources and best practice for supporting refugee children and young people, and all our children and young people, so many of whom have experienced some level of trauma, including that related to living through this ongoing COVID pandemic, which is clearly not over. We know what the research tells us. And we also know what we need to do in practical terms. The key will be to ensure that we all have the appropriate resources, energy, staff numbers, and commitment to act, and that we may require some additional lobbying of those in power in my view.

[00:32:58.713] Jo Carlowe: Fantastic. Tina, thank you so much. For more details on Dr. Tina Rae, please visit the ACAMH website,, and Twitter @acamh. ACAMH is spelled A-C-A-M-H. And don’t forget to follow us on your preferred streaming platform. Let us know if you enjoyed the podcast with a rating or review. And do share with friends and colleagues.


Thanks for this insightful overview of the way schools can support and enable refugee children and their families

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