Trauma experience of North Korean refugees in China.
Lee, Y; Lee, MK; Chun, KH; Lee, YK; Yoon, SJ
American journal of preventive medicine, 20(3):225-229, 2001
American journal of preventive medicine
OBJECTIVES: We examined trauma experience and mental health conditions among North Korean migrants in China.
METHODS: Personal interviews of 170 North Korean "food refugees" in China were conducted in 1999. Structured questionnaires were used to identify specific trauma experience and symptoms of post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and depression.
RESULTS: All participants surveyed reported trauma exposure, with food and water shortage (93%) and illness without access to medical care (89%) being the most frequently cited events. Post-traumatic stress disorder was suspected in 56% of the respondents. Above-threshold scores on anxiety and depression were found in 90% and 81% of the cases, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: The burden on the part of North Korean migrants in China who experience trauma appears to be very high. An international call for action is warranted to monitor and safeguard the mental health status of this vulnerable segment of people and respond to their urgent psychiatric and medical care needs.
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