In today’s global crisis, millions of people are getting displaced from their homes. The numbers of individuals getting affected by violence continue to grow every day. With this particular incident, certain countries around the globe gather together to respond to the needs of these less fortunate people who get sent away from their homes and lands. And in line with the world health organization’s duty, the aim to accommodate refugees is a must. Medical professionals like psychiatrists, psychologists, and other healthcare assistants are in full force to carry out support for the refugees and their mental health.
Some children were permanently physically injured during their escape, as they bounded off cars and trains or were mauled by animals. Refugee children have also lost the normal childhood sense of safety, and this can prove extremely difficult to rebuild. — Lisa Aronson Fontes Ph.D.
What Happens To The Refugee Exactly
While there are tons of political issues and controversies accompanying the acceptance of refugees in different countries across the world, no one seems to bother focusing on these people’s mental health. Yes, some of these individuals are more likely aware that these refugees appear exposed to hardships, such as violence in war. However, what a lot of them do not try to understand is the help the refugees need in assisting their psychological scars. Truthfully, everything about them does not only stand on physical needs. There is more to it than the eye can see.
In social situations, refugees may seem to appear in good physical condition even though they already suffered from severe physiological stress. That is perhaps why a lot of people often do not realize that what these refugees experienced has already impacted their psychological aspects. There are tendencies that even if these less fortunate individuals may look okay, their mental well-being is on the verge of a chaotic function. With that, it will be too late to recognize the need for assisting such mental health problems, which includes post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety.
Some try coping by suppressing their memories. Others fall into avoidance patterns, only to add more layers to the scope of their conditions. — Marianna Pogosyan Ph.D.
Refugees’ Mental Health
Refugees’ mental health problems often arise in three particular stages. There is pre-migration, migration, and post-migration. During the period of these people’s pre-migration, there is an imbalance mental and emotional state. That is because refugees are on the deciding factor of leaving their existing social support system behind. The emotional trauma arises because unfortunate instances such as natural disaster, war, and violence, or other traumatic events in life are causing them to leave their lands and homes in exchange of choosing their safety.
Meanwhile, on the migration stage, the process is entirely long and arduous. That is because the refugees facing poor living conditions or suffering from war and violence get separated from their families and friends. There is a constant emotional and mental battle going on because these individuals are clueless as to when and where they can get reunited with their loved ones. As a result, these refugees do not often realize how important it is for them to stay emotionally, physically, and mentally healthy.
The post-migration, on the other hand, caters the most complicated stage of the refugees’ mental health. It includes many different factors that cause both emotional and psychological problems. Usually, one of the issues that relate to the severity of the situation is the struggle of adapting to a new cultural and social environment. That includes accepting different cultural practices, trying to understand cultural norms, learning a new language, and so on. And the most inflicting reasons for having post-migration mental health problems is the battle for racism on refugees. That is especially when these less fortunate people are trying to access healthcare.
When working with refugees, it’s easy and natural to attribute their distress to whatever war they’ve recently escaped from. — Kenneth E. Miller Ph.D.
Aside from the issues of racism and discrimination, many refugees also struggle in obtaining shelter, employment, and education. That is the leading cause of their inability to cope with mental health illnesses. And as a result of these damaging factors, the outcome of a stabilized mental health is deficient in almost all the refugees. That is why a higher percentage of depression and anxiety often leads them to commit suicide.
What matters worse is the access to mental health facilities and services limited to the needs of the refugees. Meaning, it is clear that there is a problem in the way the healthcare system, the government, and the world organizations handle the case. Luckily, there are a few and adequate solutions that can potentially help. There is the training for clinicians to better recognize the social determinants of mental health of the refugees. With that, they can make a positive contribution to mental health awareness in the refugee population. As for other concern individuals, the acceptance, avoidance of racism and discrimination, as well as continued support, would be the essential contribution the public can give.