Refugee Trauma and Resilience Center
Prevention and Intervention
Project SHIFA (Supporting the Health of Immigrant Families and Adolescents) was developed to provide culturally appropriate school-based mental health care for Somali youth and their families. Somalis are one of the largest groups of refugees resettled in Massachusetts and across the United States. Many Somali youth and their families experienced war and violence prior to resettlement and continue to face ongoing acculturative and resettlement stress. Some experience problems related to trauma and stress; however, cultural and practical barriers have led to very few of them receiving appropriate care. Project SHIFA diminishes these barriers to care through implementing an adaptation of Trauma Systems Therapy.
Project SHIFA consists of three components of prevention and intervention: 1) parent outreach focused on anti-stigma and psycho-education, 2) school-based groups for students and trainings for teachers and 3) direct intervention for youth using an empirically-supported model of treatment, Trauma Systems Therapy.
As part of the Boston Children’s Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships (CHNP), Project SHIFA is currently being implemented in the Boston area in the Lilla G. Frederick (LGF) Pilot Middle School in Dorchester. To see Project SHIFA in action at LGF, watch our short video. In addition, the Project SHIFA model has been adapted by the public school system in Maine where is it being implemented at Park Avenue Elementary School in Auburn and Montello Elementary School in Lewiston.
Through a generous grant from the Marigold Charitable Trust, Project SHIFA also provides psychosocial supports for young Somali children (0-11) in the Boston area. For more information, about Project SHIFA see the program’s website.