Why Therapy Is Crucial For Refugee Children

Refugees bear an unbelievable weight of emotional, mental, and physical trauma. The children suffer the most because they’re unable to defend themselves or make sense of their situation. They experience the loss of everything they’ve known. Even worse, they lose those important to them, such as their family members, friends, homes, traditions, identity, and peace.

Child refugees have to leave their childhood behind. That is the cruel reality of victims of 

    • wars, 
    • human rights violations,
    • economic and environmental hardships, 
    • persecution, and 
    • displacement. 

The effects of these difficulties far outlast their duration, leaving refugees with profound psychological and physical wounds.

Source: pexels.com

A person can only bear so much pain and trauma. Without a doubt, their situation will negatively impact the quality of their lives for a long time. After escaping torment from their country of origin, they still face numerous difficulties in their host country. Because of this, it’s crucial for refugees, especially children, to receive the help of a therapist. 

Treating Their Trauma

Refugee children get exposed to so much trauma at an early age. So, they would benefit from professional help. Whether their resettlement stems from fleeing from war-torn countries, environmental disasters, or discrimination and persecution, it negatively affects them. They may have also witnessed others around them suffer from death, destruction, or abuse. 

The actual process of them seeking safety is another traumatic process entirely. Refugees don’t immediately get the green light to move to a different place. Often, they’re left months or even years struggling to survive in their situation. Rarely do they arrive at their host country without casualties and losses.

Young refugees bear witness to these hardships. And it’s damaging to see their family resort to desperate measures to survive. In addition, these children’s parents and guardians have their hands full, striving to keep their family fed and safe. This experience can lead refugee kids to develop a sense of isolation and loneliness even before fleeing their country of origin.

Source: pexels.com

Those things are bound to impact a child’s psyche. Therapy becomes even more crucial when the child refugee was a direct victim of such atrocities. It’s not uncommon for these children to experience or be exposed to

    • physical violence, 
    • diseases and infections, 
    • injuries, 
    • forced labor, and 
    • sexual assault.

Because of these, they’re at a higher risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. 

What they experienced and witnessed severely inhibits their holistic growth and degrades their quality of life. To give refugee children a chance at a healthy life, they need the help of a therapist.

Supporting Them In Facing Their Losses

One of the biggest heartbreaks refugee children go through is losing those they hold dear. They experience profound losses, regardless of their reason for fleeing from their country of origin. They lose the familiarity they’ve grown accustomed to growing up. That includes their

    • home, 
    • community,
    • customs and traditions, and 
    • lifestyle and routines.

They may feel like they lost their identity and what they’ve built over the years. When refugee children reach their host countries, they don’t get to enjoy lavish lifestyles. Most of the time, they deal with poverty and cultural shock. So, they can’t go back to the comfort of their familial and cultural traditions and celebrations.

But perhaps the most traumatic loss refugee children experience is the death of loved ones. Extreme conditions, like wars and disasters, force families to flee their homes. Their displacement comes with the loss of numerous lives. Deaths take a toll on the well-being of refugee children. So, therapy is integral in helping them heal from that experience.

Source: pexels.com

Helping Them Adjust To A New Life

Refugees face a new set of problems after reaching their host country. Their struggles are worsened by

    • language barriers, 
    • culture shock, 
    • poverty, 
    • mental and physical health problems, 
    • lack of employment, 
    • isolation from the community, and more. 

So, it will be tremendously challenging for refugees, more so for children, to adapt to that new environment.

A therapist can help refugee children begin to adapt to their current situation. That entails supporting them mentally and emotionally as they learn about what happened to them and what will happen after. It’s almost guaranteed for them to be confused and in shock. But a therapist can help refugee guardians and parents in supporting their children’s adjustment.

With the help of a therapist, these kids could start learning how to adapt to their new lives. Their circumstances aren’t ideal, but refugees must learn how to cope with their situation. This adjustment stage also includes processing and accepting previous problems. Through this, they can start their journey toward healing.

Source: pexels.com

Empowering Them In Their Journey Forward

Being a refugee entails entire sets of pains, heartbreaks, and challenges. Unfortunately, children aren’t exempted from those difficulties. At such a young age, they experience things that not even adults can survive through unscathed.

A therapist may recommend them to attend support groups, especially with those who speak the same language. A support system like that may instill a sense of community in them. It may also help them connect with those who’ve had similar experiences. Moreover, letting children mingle with those who speak their mother tongue will encourage them to communicate more.

Additionally, therapists may suggest art activities to help refugee kids express themselves. Once they do, professionals will be able to help them more. To many refugee children, the future doesn’t seem so bright. That is the sad reality for many, so it’s crucial to help empower them. Through the help of therapy, they can begin to take steps forward.

To Wrap Up

Life isn’t easy for refugee children. Their experiences leave trauma which will likely stay with them even as they grow older. Their mental, emotional, and physical wounds run deep and affect how they live and view life.

Every day is a struggle for these young kids. After all, the challenges don’t stop once they’re able to flee to safety from their country of origin. Instead, they have to deal with a new set of hurdles. However, with the help of therapy, they may begin taking small steps toward healing. 

These children deserve a chance at life. That must start with the opportunity to heal from past wounds. Therapy can help them process everything they’re going through so that they can lead brighter lives in the future.

Help For Refugees: Trauma Counseling For Healing And Recovery


Source: globalgiving.org


Approximately five million South African people make up 10% of the whole population – that are currently affected by PTSD to the degree that could be considered and must be treated by a psychologist or other mental health professionals. Someone who has gone through rape, abuse, violent crimes, hijacking, vehicular accidents, or chronic disease could be inflicted with longstanding effects from their experiences.

The aftermath of trauma surpasses the victim, negatively affecting families as much as their communities. The South African Depression and Anxiety Group states that the hidden cost to the country’s economy due to several behavioral and medical issues that complement PTSD is estimated to be at a whopping amount of R40 billion annually.

Trauma And Crisis Differentiated

Experts define a crisis as an ‘event decision point,’ while trauma is the actual process of experiencing the event.

A crisis is a real point in a period of time when a crucial decision has to be made concerning a particular event. Additionally, a decision made in the moment of crisis would most likely have a permanent effect on an individual, society, or community as a whole. The outcome of a decision taken during a crisis point would almost always signal progress or a visible decline of the circumstance from that period onwards. Hence, a crisis is considered a turning point.

Trauma is the process of going through a situation or event. It frequently has a longstanding harmful effect on someone, a group of persons, society, or the community as a whole.


Essentially, trauma can be likened to a deep mental wound, one that has a significant impression on the emotional state and daily functioning of the person who is suffering. Frequently, feelings and opinions become consumed by the traumatic event, making focus almost impossible, coping skills weak, and decision-making imprecise. Responses, which often include detachment, shock, anxiety, depression, and misperception, can vary from minor to major to worst and can continue for months or years after the initial encounter.

Source: thelondoneconomic.com

The Outcome Of Trauma

One of the most prevalent outcomes of trauma is PTSD or posttraumatic stress disorder. PTSD is a specific range of responses that could manifest in people who have gone through trauma. Those who suffer frequently feel intensely afraid, like the fear they felt when experiencing the event itself. It is also common for those who have gone through PTSD to manifest other mental health challenges. Anxiety disorder, addiction, or depression can emerge directly as a reaction to PTSD or a traumatic encounter.

The Effect Of PTSD And Trauma

PTSD does not choose age, race, social status, or gender. Its effects are not just limited to those who have been directly affected by the traumatic event. Researchers report that PTSD and trauma have a gamut of outcomes.

  • Traumatic events typically exhaust the family’s efforts, money, and time, interrupting working, growing, and learning. As a result, families have an even greater difficulty performing their daily tasks and withstanding the vital beliefs and traditions used to bind them together.
  • When stress gets too overbearing, couples may have difficulties dealing with intimacy and their feelings, communicating effectively, resulting in a greater chance of separation.
  • Trauma resonates across societies and communities, and this damages the very core of a functional society. It could also affect many generations, building a legacy of endless distress. If unsettled, the overwhelming trauma of culture loss, forced removal of communities and families, and genocide become some ‘mental baggage,’ constantly being recreated and done by generations to generations.

Trauma Counseling

Managing emotional damage that almost always goes with trauma is not easy, especially without professional help. Truly, the functions of a certified counselor are even more crucial when one realizes that if not managed appropriately, the aftermath of trauma can go on indeterminately. In fact, they can totally affect the lives of refugees and their mental health, as well as the other sufferers and the people around them.

How It Works

The principle that one size fits all does not apply to trauma therapy at all. Still, counselors efficiently deal with individuals, families, and communities to learn positive ways of dealing with emotions and behavioral patterns that have grown due to trauma. This could also entail assisting them in regulating strong feelings and learning to trust again.

Trauma counseling offers an avenue for people to open up and talk about their feelings and encounters. It also enables people to practices techniques for managing the current challenges that they’re confronted with. Trauma counselors give compassionate and effective support to their clients without getting too emotionally tangled or engrossed in their situations.

Source: infomigrants.net

Counseling In South Africa

Activists and healthcare professionals continually urge government leaders to address the extreme cases of psychological trauma where a large proportion of the country’s population suffers. The distressed need for more counselors in the field of trauma in South Africa can’t be overemphasized. Without the vital services these trained counselors offer, there is little chance of getting rid of the country’s existing pain and ending its tenacious damage.

Trauma counseling is customized to each circumstance.

Because there is no other comparison to the pandemic lockdown, its complete physical, mental, and emotional impact remains unclear. But the abrupt and severely damaging events can stimulate a traumatic reaction in people and communities. Hence, the prolonging experience of the lockdown, such as in adults and children in South Africa, will most probably heighten the requirement for trauma counselors across the globe.



Refugees: A Comprehensive Overview On Displaced Migrants and Protecting Asylum Seekers

The present rhetoric concerning displaced people issues in the media has been a brutalizing reaction to the continuing conflict in Syria that has added to the biggest catastrophe in the world since the violence of old wars. The other countries are confronted with unparalleled encounters of caring for thousands of refugee people in dire need.

The present rhetoric concerning refugees issues talked about by the media has been a brutalizing reaction to the continuing unrest in Syria that has added to the biggest catastrophe since the old wars. The course of immigration to the United States is not quite the same as the pictures exemplified in the media
Source: ct.counseling.org

A displaced refugee is a serious matter indeed. The course of displaced people’s immigration to the United States is not quite the same as the pictures exemplified in the media through words like swarms or outpouring international refugees crossing the international border in the wee hours of the night, those who may pose a danger or cannot be inspected.

An Overview Of The System

The truth is, after World War II, asylum seekers of any race, religion, or nationality membership undergo inspections and interviews before getting accepted and allowed to travel to the United States, according to the international law of America’s Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Normally, this could take at least two years of the life of an asylum seeker to be put on pause.

Primary needs are only met via donations, and outsiders and external organizations make crucial decisions.

Evaluation Of The United Nations High Commissioner Organization

The United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees (UNHCR) is tasked to interview those who flee for safety and identify whether these refugees, including women and children, possess a well-founded fear of being persecuted. It reports that 1% is endorsed to a third country for relocation. These are frequently classified as the most exposed and those with no other stable solution. Refugees themselves don’t opt to be relocated or where to be relocated. The country where refugees (asylum seekers) are relocated follows security rules and health evaluations. If the refugee’s status is cleared, it is endorsed to the appropriate organization for resettlement. The displaced people resettlement organizations identify which local partner to endorse the displaced people’s family for reception and relocation services.

The partners welcome the new refugees and offer education, case management, introduction, and counseling while connecting with the local communities to enable integration.

Helping Refugees Resettle Towards A Successful Future

The rising global crisis should provoke the concerned professionals’ obligation to social justice and diversity. Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary-General, once a displaced person himself, said that displaced people might have lost their homes but should not be robbed of their futures.

The Counselors can help them after resettlement and towards a successful future.

Relocation work in the initial months is done through non-profit groups affiliating with the government and frequently with insufficient resources. Some who arrive have family or friends or a particular social group in the community, and others do not have a single acquaintance in the country they are relocated to.

Refugees on a festival day. Originated from various backgrounds, religions, & language. The rising crisis overseas provoke professionals’ obligation for a social justice. UN Secretary-General, said: they might have lost their homes, but should not be robbed of their future.
Source: infomigrants.net

The first three months can place a profound burden on displaced person’s families whose expectations are not yet met.

Anxiety can cause loneliness, and an asylum seeker’s family roles may be overturned.

It is a course that involves welcoming new members to the community and assisting them in their journey through self-sufficiency.

It will be of great help if counseling professionals are present during this event. It is not just a humanitarian responsibility but also a chance for countries to take advantage of the skills and potential of these new evacuees.  Counselors are tasked to accelerate coordination, self-sufficiency, and professional success for them so that they and the country can reap positive benefits.

Their Origin

These refugees originate from various backgrounds, religions, work experiences, languages, and capacities. The counselors’ skills are suitable for evaluating displaced people’s different histories and matching them to the country’s needs that they settle in, guiding them through a profession instead of a job that merely helps them sustain themselves.

Different Ways To Help Refugees Thrive In Their New Country

There are a lot of ways that a counselor can help displaced people succeed in their new country. Introducing them to the goals and strategies of achieving their aspirations amidst stressful situations requires a harmony of roles. This may be dealing with finances, discussing junk mail issues, introducing social norms, or promoting various opportunities to them.

Counselors may:

    • Assist in refugee relief efforts and relocation organizations
    • Communicate with refugee resettlement agencies and provide consultation
    • Take action against the negative rhetoric concerning immigration and cultural organizations that contribute to stress, fear, seclusion, and discrimination against a refugee. Refugees and host countries benefit from being kind, welcoming, and open to helping others learn about their culture.
    • Support educational programs for a refugee, hundreds of whom have had their education disrupted by travel and war.
    • Oversee the services provided for a refugee and assess how available and efficient they are to a refugee and an immigrant. Refugee relocation organizations aim to support new immigrants but must also incorporate them into society and endorse them to other agencies. The accessibility of refugee agencies to the displaced people’s population depends on the cultural competency of those offering them.
Refugees themselves don't opt to be relocated or where to be relocated. The country where asylum seekers are relocated to follows security rules and health evaluations. Normally, this could take at least two years of the life of an asylum seeker to be put on pause,
Source: pri.org

Final Thoughts

What do counselors need to be aware of about refugee status? They can and must help displaced people who are seeking asylum. As displaced people fled their homes, they had to settle in a new home somewhere else, including procuring a job and an education. Counselors can tackle the trauma of this disruption, and educate the displaced people about the economic and cultural environment and political opinions of refugee-hosting countries to enable them to plan for their future and promote equal opportunities for all of them.


What is an asylum seeker?
What are the 3 types of displaced people?
Why does one become an asylum seeker?
What are the 6 types of displaced people?
What is the main problem with displaced people?
How can we help displaced people?
What do refugees need most?
Why do refugees get denied?
What happens to refugees who are refused?
Do refugees have rights?
What is a refugee?
What are the main causes of refugees?
What are the four types of refugees?
What are examples of refugees?
What is the difference between migrants and refugees?

Frequently Asked Questions About Marsha Linehan And DBT

Refugees go through tough situations. Aside from the actual migration, they have to face challenging pre-migration conditions. Most have to deal with separation from their families, poor housing, or even wars. Due to these, refugees need special attention. They must receive the proper treatment to help them recover from the traumatic events they had to endure as much as possible.

Source: pexels.com

Luckily, Marsha Linehan came to create Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). At the age of 17, Marsha Linehan was experiencing a difficult time with her mental health. She was inaccurately diagnosed with different disorders. Because of that, Marsha then got worse. 

One night, when she was kneeling to pray, Marsha felt this rush in her as she looked up at the cross. She went back to her room and whispered, “I love myself.” She indeed adored herself. But it was the first time when she had truly felt it. She felt so proud. At this same time, she realized the vital role that acceptance plays in the healing journey. Then she discovered Dialectical Behavior Therapy. 

From then on, Marsha continued to help better the human mind by sharing this knowledge of hers. Currently, she is a Professor Emeritus of Psychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington and is Director Emeritus of the Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics. Marsha has also spent her time researching and developing new treatments for severe disorders. 

Furthermore, Dr. Linehan created The Linehan Institute to educate and research DBT, Behavioral Tech, giving DBT and Behavioral Tech Research training. 

Marsha Linehan received several awards, including the Lifetime Achievement award from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies in 2016. The American Association of Suicidology also created the Marsha Linehan Award for Outstanding Research in the Treatment of Suicidal Behavior. 

If you want to know more about her, here are some FAQs. 

Did Marsha Linehan have BPD?

Dr. Marsha Linehan, who developed dialectical behavior therapy (DNT), has previously had a borderline personality disorder (BPD).

At 17, she stayed in a seclusion room in a clinic because she tended to cut and hurt herself. As BPD wasn’t discovered yet at that time, she was diagnosed with schizophrenia. The treatment she received was a heavy Thorazine and Librium medication and undergoing electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which wasn’t successful.

What are the six main points of dialectical behavior therapy?

The six main points of DBT distinguish periods in the therapy sessions where change will occur. It involves pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance, and the last is achieving mindfulness.

It starts with the patient’s unawareness, followed by the realization in the contemplation period. What follows after these two points are the therapy procedures that will cause a change in the patient’s condition. Upon processing and accepting these changes, the final point is achieving mindfulness.

What is DBT therapy good for?

DBT was initially a therapy intended to treat BPD. However, over the years, it has also been found effective for treating other mental health conditions. It includes conditions such as depression, anxiety, trauma, eating disorders, substance abuse, etc. DBT works for these conditions as the procedure helps people regulate emotions and become mindful of their thoughts and actions.

Do borderlines have empathy?

Research has shown that borderlines have reduced brain activity in regions that support empathy. The reduced brain activity in the brain of a person with BPD affects their comprehension of other people’s feelings. This brain activity may be why people with BPD often have unstable moods and have trouble maintaining their relationships.

Source: pexels.com

What triggers a person with a borderline personality disorder?

The triggers of BPD often vary from patient to patient. However, there are types of triggers prevalent in the condition that may intensify their symptoms.

One of the most common BPD triggers is relationship-related triggers. Since people with BPD are more sensitive in nature, they experience intense anger and fear when abandoned. The feeling of neglect from a relationship may lead to impulsive actions, such as self-harm and thoughts of suicide.

Is BPD a brain disease?

Researchers still haven’t found a definite cause of BPD. However, it has often been linked to a history of abuse and neglect, genetics, or brain abnormalities. There is substantial evidence that BPD patients can pass on the condition. Research findings suggest that the brain abnormalities involved in BPD are a gene consequence in the brain’s development.

How is DBT different from CBT?

DBT is a specific type of CBT. Hence, DBT stems from the foundations of CBT but focuses on regulating harmful and destructive behaviors. It doesn’t only work to recognize problematic thoughts but also on accepting and managing emotions. The desired result of DBT sessions is mindfulness.

What was Dr. Linehan’s approach to developing DBT?

Dr. Linehan developed DBT as a variation of traditional CBT with a combination of acceptance and mindfulness. It integrates contradictory philosophies that allow a patient to come to terms with change and acceptance. Dr. Linehan developed DBT as a result of her condition.

What does it mean to think dialectically?

The word “dialectical” refers to the balance between contradictory views or points. Its central premise is that these opposing views can coexist rather than being categorized as one or the other. Hence, thinking dialectically means having no one absolute idea. When incorporated in DBT, it allows patients to understand and apply change and acceptance in their life.

How long does DBT therapy take to work?

The duration of DBT varies for different patients. However, it generally takes around six months for most patients to finish. It involves completing the four DBT modules, which are: emotional regulation, distress tolerance, core mindfulness, and finally, interpersonal effectiveness.

Is DBT effective for depression?

Since DBT incorporates comprehensive therapy elements, research has found that it can be effective for treating depression. Its cognitive-behavioral, mindfulness, and acceptance-based therapy approach is successful for addressing common symptoms of depression. In this process, patients can practice acceptance and management of emotions to develop efficient coping skills.

Is DBT good for trauma?

Most traumatic experiences show up later in life as unwanted emotions. DBT’s approach can help address trauma with its emotional regulation techniques and mindfulness strategies. This way, it helps people with trauma work towards acceptance and developing coping skills in facing their trauma.

Does DBT therapy really work?

Studies have found that the DBT procedure is successful for individuals of diverse demographics and backgrounds. However, for the best results, the patient themselves must be willing to undergo recovery. Like other therapy methods, the effectiveness of DBT may vary depending on different patients’ circumstances.

What can I expect from DBT therapy?

During DBT, you can expect to undergo the therapy’s main components: group skills training, individual therapy, and phone coaching. It involves learning behavioral skills, applying them in real-life events, and getting adequate support to boost motivation.

How effective is DBT for a borderline personality disorder?

DBT has been developed specifically for treating BPD, targeting three behavior categories of the condition that may hinder recovery. It includes life-threatening behaviors, therapy-interfering behaviors, and quality-of-life-interfering behavior. Hence, it addresses the present challenges and harmful behaviors that the patient is facing and their recovery behaviors.

Source: pexels.com

Marsha Linehan has struggled so much during her teen years. She had to put through different kinds of pain because of the misdiagnosis of her mental health condition. Fortunately, Marsha has figured a way to fix the problem. In return, she has not only helped herself but many other individuals as well. She paved the way to learn more about the illness. But more importantly, Marsha led the way to discover a useful treatment, which is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).

Dr. Linehan’s DBT aims to bring peace to others by reflection onto self. It is a mix of different strategies that include acceptance, emotion regulation, and mindfulness. The goal of DBT is to teach how to savor at the moment, control emotions, build good relationships with others, and develop healthy coping mechanisms. It is initially for those with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). But over the years, studies show that it can help with other mental health conditions too. 

The effectiveness of DBT has been proven through years of research and study. However, this therapy cannot fully succeed without the full cooperation of the patient. The desire to change should start from within. The only way to achieve mindfulness is by acknowledging that there is something that needs to change. 

In the case of Dr. Linehan, after admitting that she loved herself, she started to begin to change. She put it in the conscious effort and focused on finding a way to keep that positive mindset. Lo behold, she did it. And because of that, she developed DBT.

Currently, DBT is an effective treatment for different conditions such as anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression. These are common conditions among refugees, which means that too they can benefit from DBT.

In Focus Discussion: Refugees And Their Overall Mental Health

Source: pxfuel.com

For years, refugees and asylum seekers have gone through intensely stressful situations due to religious or political oppression, resettlement, war, and migration.

It’s not easy to define every kind of event they have experienced, as refugee trauma frequently precedes the stressful situations that push them to flee. But before this happens, they might go through torture, imprisonment, war-related trauma, physical abuse, rape, unemployment, property loss, or malnutrition. What’s worse is that these refugee populations are often separated from their loved ones during their flight, or they are forced to kill witness torture or withstand very cruel environmental circumstances. Possibly, the most relevant outcome from all the encounters that refugees withstand is being betrayed by either their friends or their enemies.

Indeed, refugees have had significant emotional and occasionally physical recovery encounters that should be meticulously evaluated and treated. Needless to say, the refugee’s mental health is often at stake and must be discussed.

Refugees And Mental Illness

Studies have proven time and again that common mental health diagnoses or mental health conditions are the primary source of disability across the world. It comprises more than 10% of the global problem of disease and accounts for over 30% of the number of years survived with disability. It is projected that individuals who have serious mental disorders like bipolar disorder, severe depression, and schizophrenia have a higher likelihood of dying earlier than those who don’t suffer from them.

The issues concerning poor mental health are widespread, and it impact people around the world. Additionally, there are significant economic outcomes of this widespread occurrence. The cost of mental illness-related evaluations and psychological treatment was estimated to be about $16 trillion from 2011 until 2030.

Source: pxfuel.com

Mental Health Support for Refugees

The official definition of a refugee or an asylum seeker is someone “who is often afraid of being victimized because of race, nationality, religion, member of a political or social group, is outside his own country and is not able, unwilling to access protection of his country, or does not want to return to it because of fear or apprehension.”

Presently, the obligation of mental health support for refugees and asylum seekers is shared by a group of organizations such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the World Health Organization, and non-profit and government organizations. Most of the refugees are inflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD because of the various devastating situations they are confronted with that inevitably affect their way of life.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

This mental health disorder is defined as enduring, distracting, and repeated flashbacks or memories of someone who has gone through trauma, including mental health symptoms, detachment symptoms, physical symptoms, sleep disturbance, and amplified startle response. PTSD is thought of as a single major mental disease that might have a clear cause. Responses such as horror, helplessness, and fear can be described as the individual’s integrity becoming vulnerable. Problems in cognitive function, relationships, emotional management, hopelessness, and somatization may happen because of extreme stress due to overwhelming situations and unpleasant experiences.

The presence of traumatic experiences is not uncommon. In fact, over two-thirds of individuals in the general populace can encounter a major traumatic situation at some point in their lives. Several studies on asylum seekers in the western part of the country revealed that almost 10% of refugees had PTSD and are considered internally displaced persons, and about 5% suffered from depression. These pieces of evidence suggest that most of them require counseling. In other studies that delved into the biological impact of PTSD, the findings revealed:

Source: rawpixel.com
  • Decreasing volumes of the anterior cingulate cortex and hippocampus suggest the development of substance abuse and depression.
  • Increased heart rate in response to unexpected loud tones, suggesting central sensitization.
  • The dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and amygdala are hyperactive, while the ventral medial prefrontal cortex region is hypoactive in PTSD, suggesting attentional bias towards abnormal emotional regulation.
  • Alterations in the brain, particularly brain volume, in PTSD.

The above information revealed that cognitive-behavioral therapy specific to trauma or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing must be considered in people with PTSD. One should also consider psychological evaluation and treatment to decrease PTSD symptoms. Finally, mental health care providers programs should be incorporated into policy planning like psychotherapy, counseling, psychosocial treatment, and pharmacotherapy.

Refugees And Licensed Professionals

Psychiatrists, social support, social workers, medical doctors, and other health professionals must be aware of the important elements that influence refugees’ and asylum seekers’ mental health outcomes.


  • The incidents they are exposed to in their own country or the evacuation camps they have stayed in.
  • The experiences they have on the way to their host country and their new life in the new country they are in.
  • Their health is also impacted by neurological conditions, chronic diseases, cancer, and infectious conditions that could lead to polymorbidity.
  • Infections
  • The consequence of starvation may include paresthesia, epilepsy, and ataxia.
  • Psychological or mental health concerns.
  • Communication, attention, and intercultural difficulties.
Source: pxfuel.com

Final Thoughts And Take Away To Consider

A clinical trial on mental health needs in a group of asylum seekers in Malaysia revealed that these asylum seekers and refugees stressed their worries about providing opportunities for permanent relocation and concerns about their capacity to survive financially. Service providers must pay attention to their mental well-being. Coping techniques and strategies should be integrated while assessing their basic needs, whether they are staying in temporary locations.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Helping A Family Of Refugees Settle In The Community

I live in a close-knit community where everyone practically knows each other from birth. I married my childhood sweetheart, my best friend’s house is only at the end of the road, and my parents stay next door. The other folks in the neighborhood have similar life stories, too.

Then, sometime in 2012, we saw a new car pull up at the only apartment complex in town. At first, we thought that the landlord owned it, but a dignified-looking man I had never seen before came out. Two adults and three kids followed him. Even from afar, it was possible that they were a family from the Middle East. The man led them in the apartment and went out alone after a few minutes.

Source: wallpaperflower.com

As curious as I was, I kept myself from barging in the complex and demanding to get to know my new neighbors. But I had the chance to say hello to them when the new family went to the park where my kids typically played one afternoon. That’s how I learned that they were refugees from Iraq and that they fled from the country after the school they worked at got bombed.

I could not fathom the anguish and fear that this family must have experienced. It pushed them to move to a foreign country and leave everything they had behind. The least we could do to help them settle in the community were:

Make Them Feel Welcome

The first thing I did was introduce the family to our neighbors. The town is too small for people not to get acquainted, so it’s better for them to have a formal introduction now instead of later. And once the others have heard the reason why they have become refugees, their expressions transform from mere curiosity to sympathy, too.

Source: pikist.com

To make the family feel welcome, we decided to throw a little picnic party at the park. Everyone chipped in and brought homemade dishes and drinks. Although it was a small gesture, our new neighbors were teary-eyed while thanking us, saying no one had ever been too kind. This statement made me want to cry for them, but I held it in because pity was the last thing they needed.

Avoid Asking Too Many Questions

After several conversations, we learned a few things about the Middle Eastern family. For instance, Abdul (the father) served as a high school principal in Iraq, and Alia (the mother) taught pre-school kids. When they fled, they stuffed as many belongings as possible in two suitcases.

Source: pikist.com

However, seeing how sad the adults were whenever they talked about it, we tried not to ask too many questions regarding life back home. I figured that they would open up once they were emotionally ready to do it. At the moment, the family should focus on familiarizing themselves with the community that they might live in permanently.

Offer Mental Help Support If You Can

Since we met the refugees at the park regularly, we noticed that they would get jumpy when a car door closes loudly, or someone honks too much. Adult or not, their reactions were the same. Even if I was not a psychologist, I could quickly tell that the family was most likely suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). From what I gathered, this condition was common among victims of war and violence, which they clearly were.

Source: defense.gov

I talked to my husband (a psychologist) about my observation, and he agreed to offer mental help for free. So, I asked the family to come over at our house so that they could converse in a safe space. The more group counseling sessions they had, the less affected they were by external noises that reminded them of what they ran away from.

Find Out What They Need But Still Don’t Have

Another act of kindness that we did was finding out what other things this family needed but did not know how to get. It would not be acceptable to give them hand-me-down clothes or money, after all. Though they were refugees, they were not homeless people or charity cases. They could even afford the rent at the apartment complex without the help of the government.

Source: flickr.com

When I asked them what else they needed, Alia said, “Abdul and I need to look for teaching jobs. Our savings would suffice for a year or so, but we need a stable income source.” Hence, I brought them to my kids’ schools and introduced them to the principals. After a few meetings, they agreed to hire the couple.

Final Thoughts

It won’t be an exaggeration to say that the Middle Eastern family lived happily ever after. They felt awkward at first, but they managed to get back on their feet. Even the kids were doing well and trying different extracurricular activities. It was as if they had been living in town all their lives. Hopefully, every refugee gets to settle in their chosen communities as smoothly as they did.

What We Can Do To Help Protect Refugees During The Pandemic


Source: i2.wp.com


The coronavirus outbreak is unreasonably affecting the world’s most susceptible. Among them are the 70 million displaced people – the internally displaced, asylum seekers, and the refugees – and this included undocumented migrants and migrant workers. Most of these women, men, and kids are staying in regular as well as irregular camps, detention centers, and reception facilities. Some are living on the streets in some informal home arrangements. Still, others do not have access to essential needs, like proper healthcare and sanitized water. Lastly, a lot of them do not have any legal status at all.


The pandemic aggravates and is worsened by unpleasant living situations.

In settings like the ones mentioned above, even precautionary measures are not always doable. It is difficult to tell them to protect themselves when they do not have access to clean water or soap. How can we tall them to self-isolate when they are staying in crowded tents, along with ten others? Indeed, physical distancing is not easy to do at all for these people who live in small, jam-packed homes with several family members. And worst is, they need to line up to get water and food, which undeniably heightens their risk of getting infected.

In many setups, refugees live in fear and anxiety, often confronted by the risk of abuse, arrest, or stigma of being disease carriers because of the existing racisms. Additionally, in a lot of regions spread across the world, the COVID-19 pandemic is being abused, using it as a reason to punish refugees and other displaced groups, even those who wish to help them. There are nearly 170 states that completely or incompletely closed borders to stop or prevent further spread of the virus, and 57 of these don’t make any exclusion for those seeking refuge.

Source: wordpress.com

If you want to help in your little ways to protect these vulnerable people, here are some things you can do.

  • You strive to work on making sure that the pandemic is not used as a reason to implement life-threatening migration control laws. You must be aware that governments should not use this global crisis as an excuse to impose further restraining migration control policies and avoid international responsibilities to these vulnerable refugees and migrants. There are serious challenges that are confronting all of us as we live with the risk of being part of those who have become carriers or worse, who have died because of it. However, protecting the wellbeing of everyone in your own country and doing your obligation towards these displaced individuals are not in any way different at all.


  • Ensure that human rights are honored. The government should not use the coronavirus emergency health guidelines to mark migrants, refugees, and migrants. All limitations related to human rights must be required and respected based on scientific proof, not enforced discriminatorily or illogically. All data related to the pandemic must be reviewed and decided upon concerning human dignity.


  • Refugees and other displaced groups that are considered high risk must be moved as soon as possible. In other countries, governments and non-profit organizations call for the evacuation of individuals and groups that are most at risk. These are the seniors and those with respiratory illnesses, diabetes, and other existing medical conditions. They are also making efforts in decongesting refugee camps or tents, along with moving unaccompanied minors and sick kids to other neighboring states. Allowing these people to stay in cramped and dirty informal homes was and will always be irresponsible.


  • Closures, quarantines, and lockdowns can’t be unreasonably and discriminatorily enforced. Measures must be applied fairly to everyone without any form of racism, discrimination, or stigma. Healthcare, basic needs like water and food, and psychological and social support must be provided to those who are quarantined. Ultimately, mass quarantines should not be allowed as much as possible.

Source: defense.gov


We all need to protect access to healthcare for everyone. The pandemic control guidelines must not apply at the expense of access to appropriate healthcare. This implies that border closures should not hinder the necessary medical and other essential supplies from entering countries. Finally, governments must make sure that those constraints in free homes, reception centers, and detention facilities do not stop refugees, and all kinds of people, for that matter, from getting the healthcare they need.





Refugee Learning: Culinary Tips And Tricks

There are a lot of exciting things in the 2019 culinary event for refugees. Some of the information is used to improve not just your cooking skills, but as well as your cooking wisdom. Some tips and tricks will help you make your dishes taste just as great as those certified master chefs. So let’s start identifying some of those tricks that can change your cooking experience.

Cooking Tips To Remember

Source: pexels.com


Never fry a piece of meat that you have just taken out of the fridge. Instead, allow it to lose all the buildup ice and let it come up to room temperature. You can do it by leaving the meat an hour or two. That way, you can cook the meat evenly. Note that it would be better to get off all the moisture if you want to have a beautiful brown crust on the fried meat. If you are used to frying your meat with oil, you might want to consider not doing it anymore. Most chefs are not using any cooking oil when cooking their meat. That is because cooking without oil helps preserve the meat’s natural juice. Besides, meat has its oil in them so you won’t have to worry about it.


If you are a lover of vegetable cream soup, perhaps you need to understand the best process in making one. So to come up with the best-tasting soup dish, fry all the vegetables separately with olive oil right before cooking your soup. Some would choose baking their veggies for 5 minutes, and that is okay as well. The process of frying helps caramelize the natural sugar in vegetables to enhance their flavors. Also, when adding water, it would be better to start with a lesser amount of cups. That way, it would be easier to correct the taste by adding small portions of water while cooking the soup.

Source: pexels.com


If you want your dish full-flavored, consider using enhanced spices. You can have it by tossing your cumin or pepper in a pan over medium heat. That way, you can toast the spices until they get the best aroma. From there, you can grind them by using a mortar and pestle or any grinder that suits your needs so that they can add more aroma and flavor to your food. However, too much of it can also ruin the natural blend of the dish. Therefore, make sure you only put enough to obtain the necessary balance of taste you need. Avoid putting spices all together as well because some ingredients do not go along with the others.


Regardless of the many recipes you follow, you need to understand that sugar is not only for additional sweetness. In fact, it is also an excellent seasoning ingredient that helps your dish taste even better. Sugar reduces every food’s natural sourness, so adding small amounts of it won’t harm your dish. Just don’t overdo it. Also, if you want to improve the taste of your marinated meat, you can use some sugar along with pepper and salt.

With all these helpful tips, you need to understand the most important one. As tasty and delicious as your freshly cooked dish appears in front of you, do not eat it instantly. Instead, allow it to cool for a bit. That is because too cold or too hot dishes can impair your taste judgment.

COVID-19 And Its Impact On Refugees

Source: en-wikipedia.org


As the coronavirus outbreak takes on the whole world, human rights groups are vigilant of the tremendous impact that the virus might have on the world’s most defenseless populations, and this includes the refugees.

The Refugee

Refugees, also known as asylum seekers, are individuals who have been maltreated or discriminated against and have decided to remove themselves from their homes because they feel that they are no longer safe. They then flee to another country, where they apply for asylum and are granted refugee status. That is how these groups of people become refugees. As of today, there are about 25 million of them all over the world, the largest of which are from Afghanistan, South Sudan, Syria, Somalia, and Burma.

Vulnerable To COVID-19 Contamination

Refugees will most likely be infected the same way that others are by their host communities, although refugees are more susceptible. This is why.

Refugee camps are typically seen in areas where there is a lack of medical care, and there are no hospitals nearby. The larger refugee camps may have them, even ventilators and ICUs, but only very few. Lately, though, more hospitals badly need additional ventilators, and the pressing matter is whether these refugee camps will even be left with one or two ventilators when the national hospitals can’t risk lending them. Thus, health care is a significant vulnerability.

The second reason is that refugees usually thrive with multiple families and in densely populated environments. Social distancing will most probably be painful for them to practice, as there will be no more space for them to do just that. This is seen in Bangladesh with the Rohingya population – 900,000 of them are staying in one area.

Source: wfae.org

Lastly, refugees have a high probability of having existing health conditions like malnutrition. This is why researchers and experts are concerned that they are among the most susceptible to acquiring COVID-19, and it will affect them more rigorously than the rest of the people in their corresponding communities.

Outbreaks In Refugee Populations

There is currently an outbreak in Greece where refugees and migrants are staying. In a place that’s snug and detention-like, the coronavirus will spread rapidly. That is one of the worst situations. It is not sensible to place people in these kinds of situations. Some refugees in American detention centers have also been found to have positive cases of the virus among refugees and migrants. In other countries, on the other hand, there have also been minor outbreaks, but apparently, we all have not seen the worst of it yet, particularly in Africa, the Middle East, and other parts of Asia. Refugees are rampant in these countries.

Measures Taken For Refugee Camps

A new technique being used in camps today is known as shielding. Families that know each other transfer their seniors and those with existing conditions to separate locations, distancing them from the other fields to protect them. They are ‘shielded’ because they are the most susceptible groups. This is done before contamination occurs in the community. So far, this has been effective in camps that made attempts at meticulously implementing the technique.

Other measures done include the closure of schools and other institutions and risk communication, which means discussing to people what the virus is, how they can acquire it, and what they can do to prevent further infection. More isolation centers are also being put in place.

Preventing And Minimizing Infection Among Refugees

Testing centers should be positioned in corresponding areas within the community for everyone – national or refugee. Differentiating is a bad display of public health sense. Funding for low and middle-income countries should be made available so that they will have the means to fight against the virus. Though the spread is largely in major countries with high incomes, those with low incomes will be severely affected if the outbreak hits them, and they have no external financial assistance.

Source: flickr.com

Finally, let us not use this global crisis as an excuse to magnify stigma or to stop helping refugees. The COVID-19 has nothing to do with your position – who’s national and who’s a refugee. The virus affects all of us.




The Most Realistic Ways To Help Refugees

In the 2017 help refugees conference, there is an emphasis on the people’s contribution to those unfortunate individuals. Since a lot of these refugees have been driven away from their country, they all need assistance. Most of their populations are stranded, drifted in the ocean, and thriving in different neighboring countries. They have little hope of surviving and returning to their homes.

Source: flickr.com

In the conference, influencers and speakers point out the unified system that attempts to manage the situation. However, it pretty much doesn’t control it that easily. So to make a huge difference, people must develop compassion for those refugees. That is why they highlighted the most realistic ways to help the less fortunate.

Employ – Refugees can only survive their situation if a specific country accepts them. However, the government they are at might not agree on providing their needs forever. So instead of looking at them as guests or burden, it would be beneficial if they get employed. That way, they can serve and survive at the same time.

Donate – Employment is far better than a donation. However, considering there are women and children, the donation is the best option. To support most of them, people should start by providing shelter. Then it can be followed by food, clothing, and cash assistance. There are millions of people in the world, and with a dollar donation, a piece can make a difference.

Source: needpix.com

Fundraising – Knowing that there are refugees out there is not enough. Wishing them well will not help them either. Ignoring these people’s existence is never going to solve anything. As an individual, you can allow awareness. Hold fundraising, volunteer, and spread the words to your colleagues and friends. Let everybody know about them and become part of a reliable system that focuses on helping the refugees.

You can help. You only need to start working on it.