A Service Design Approach to Improve the Accessibility of War Refugees to Psychosocial Therapeutic Interventions


In this era of social unrest and refugee crisis caused by wars, such as the Russo-Ukrainian conflict, there’s a growing awareness where it concerns the mental health of the populations affected by these traumatic events. Still, the measures being taken aren’t enough to prevent a later and severer onset of mental health illnesses such as PTSD. This paper presents a literature review to identify gaps within the mental health services provided to war refugees in terms of accessibility and efficacy. While trying to evaluate what are the most prevalent mental health problems faced by these communities (like PTSD, depression, and anxiety) and how the host countries are trying to mitigate the growth in severity and the number of cases of these diseases. This study besides a two-phased literary review, presents two semi-structured interviews with two clinicians of different health areas and also a questionnaire to better understand the state of the art of this subject in Portugal, our chosen area of focus, and pinpoint what are its major gaps. The findings suggest that through further development of the project and using interdisciplinary methods from Service Design, Social Sciences, and Psychology, it is possible to co-create with all the stakeholders a solution that helps diminish the challenges to the accessibility of mental health diagnosis and treatment faced by war refugees and forcibly displaced people.


Davide Antonio Gambera
PhD Candidate, Assistant Professor, UNIDCOM/IADE, IADE, Universidade Europeia, Lisbon, Portugal


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


2023 Special Focus—New Agendas for Design: Principles of Scale, Practices of Inclusion


Refugees, Mental Health, PTSD, Service Design

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