Refugee Mental Health

Mental Health America of the HeartlandSusan Crain Lewis, MSSW, President/CEO of the Mental Health America of the Heartland, possesses over 25 years of program development, management and implementation experience in domestic violence, developmental disability, reproductive health, mental health and child welfare; and extensive background in outcome evaluation, community collaboration, cultural diversity and cultural diversity training, and program, project and grants management. Susan Crain Lewis received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Women's Studies from Allegheny College, and a Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington. In her personal life, she has had opportunities to live in and experience the values and traditions of several distinct countries and cultures, and to serve on numerous Boards, including as President of aha! dance theatre and the Lawrence Arts Center's Dance Program Advisory Board. Kristina Marsh is the Manager of Refugee and Migrant Services at Catholic Charities where she oversees its case management programs, which focus on establishing economic and community self-sufficiency for refugees. Prior to that, she was a case manager assisting to orient and stabilize newly-arrived refugees during their first 90 days in the country, including providing referrals for mental health services. She volunteered with the Refugee Program prior to joining its staff and has been providing support to local refugees for over 10 years. She has additional experience working with non-native English speakers and those of other cultures from around the globe as she has formally taught English Language Learners for 5 years in various settings, including local community colleges and libraries, the Kansas City Missouri and Shawnee Mission Public School Districts, and at a language academy in South Korea. Kristina earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Missouri Kansas City, and her TESOL Certificate from Trinity College London.

Melissa DeVault is a Program Coordinator and Case Manager in the Refugee Resettlement program at Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas. Catholic Charities resettles over 300 refugees each year in the Kansas City area. Melissa works with refugee clients that are facing many barriers to employment and self-sufficiency, including: single mothers, large families, and those with mental and physical health needs. Melissa is passionate about addressing the unique mental health needs of refugees. She leads a support group for Refugee women that focuses on their educational, social, and emotional needs. Melissa graduated from the University of Central Missouri in 2012 with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. After spending time volunteering in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Haiti, she developed a passion for working with those from diverse countries and cultures. This led her to her work with refugees at Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas. Melissa is currently working towards a Master’s in Social Work degree from the University of Missouri – Kansas City.

Overview: This workshop will provide participants with an overview of the refugee populations currently settling in Kansas City. Elements of the refugee process and experience will be explored and implications for the mental health of refugees and their families discussed. Lenses of culture will be applied to understand symptoms, access and effectiveness of mental health disorders and treatments.

Objectives: After attending this program, the participant will be able to:

  • Gain a basic understanding of refugees including the process they go through to resettle in the United States and the services available to them.
  • Describe the barriers refugees face that contribute to their mental health problems and needs.
  • Discuss the need to adapt services provided in the community to meet the unique needs of refugee clients and suggestions to do so.

Registration Fee: $20.00. 2.5 CEU's (Certificate of Attendance)

Pre-register only. Contact Stacy Davis to obtain a registration form, or go to and click on "Events". If you have any questions and/or need translation or other accommodation, please contact Stacy Davis at or call 913-281-2221 ext. 112 at least 5 days prior to the workshop. Registration deadline is October 16, 2016. Make checks payable to MHAH. Accept VISA.

Location: First Church of the Nazarene, KC, 11811 State Line Rd. KCMO 64114. Fellowship Hall.

Sponsored by: Mental Health America of the Heartland in collaboration with Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas.