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Since March 2009, AkiDwA has been holding discussions on mental health (Let's Talk) targeting migrant women. The organisation’s primary intervention has been the provision of psychosocial support. At AkiDwA, we understand that although migrant women find Ireland safer than their countries of origin, resettlement forces them to confront the loss of support systems, gender-based violence, loss of personal livelihood, and challenges related to weather, culture, as well as other factors such as poverty and unemployment. Consequently, the mental health and well-being of migrant women are affected by multiple factors, leading to symptoms such as stress disorders, depression, anxiety, trauma, and mental breakdowns.


While medical intervention is available in Ireland, and some women may have access to free medical cards, non-medical support plays a crucial role in fostering and enhancing women's own coping mechanisms. The importance of trauma-informed care for refugee/migrant women cannot be overstated. AkiDwA has applied a psychosocial approach to support migrant women and refugees over the years. The organization believes it is crucial for frontline workers and all service providers to conduct individual assessments of migrant women, especially those seeking international protection and refugees. This approach helps to recognize the widespread impact of trauma and understand potential paths for recovery. Such assessments also acknowledge the signs and symptoms of trauma in clients, where transcultural assessments are necessary due to diverse backgrounds and beliefs.


Peer-led support and empowerment through access to training, work, and community engagement are paramount, areas in which the organization has been actively working for years. In 2020, AkiDwA undertook research aimed at exploring migrant women’s lived experiences of well-being and mental health from personal, social, and transcultural perspectives, identifying access to and barriers to mental health services and agencies. The organization also conducted pilot group therapy and art therapy sessions for migrant women in a culturally sensitive manner to support their mental health needs. The research identified isolation and grief, loss of social networks, acculturation issues, uncertainty regarding asylum status, poverty, immigration rules, discrimination, racism, powerlessness, and lack of agency as major triggers and challenges to the mental health of migrant women. Lets Talk, Mental Health experiences of migrant women.  The report can be found here https://akidwa.ie/akidwas-new-report-shares-migrant-womens-stories-of-mental-health/.