Author(s): Pathways to Wellness

Note: These scripts were developed for a particular setting and use in King County, WA. You will need to adapt the scripts for your particular context and locale.

The following scripts may be helpful in bringing up symptoms associated with mental health issues and in making referral to counseling upon administering the Refugee Health Screener 15 (RHS-15) Packet (see link in sidebar). The RHS-15 is a tool for screening refugees for emotional distress and mental health. 

A provider having a discussion with a patient in a clinic exam room
Photo by UW Medicine.

Introductory script: 

“Some refugees have mind and body symptoms because of the difficult things they have been through, and because it is very stressful to move to a new country. The questions we are asking help us find people who are having a hard time and who might need extra support. Your answers are not shared with employers, USCIS, teachers, etc.” 

Referral script: 

“From your answers on the questions, it seems like you are having a difficult time. You are not alone. Lots of refugees experience sadness, too many worries, bad memories, or too much stress because of everything they have gone through and because it is so difficult to adjust to a new country. In the United States, people who are having these types of symptoms sometimes find it helpful to get extra support. This does not mean that something is wrong with them or that they are crazy. Sometimes people need help through a difficult time. I would like to connect you to a counselor. This is a type of healthcare worker who will listen to you and provide help and support. This person keeps everything you say confidential, which means they cannot by law share the information with anyone without your agreement. 

“Are you interested in being connected to these services?” 

NO_____ YES_____ 

If client agrees to services: 

“Can we take a couple of minutes to complete our referral form? I will refer you to an agency and they will be contacting you, is this okay with you. Someone will call you in your language and describe the type of support they can offer you. They will call you in the next few days to give you the appointment date and location of the appointment so you can find out if it is the right service for you.”