3 Things To Remember In Dealing With Refugees

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Depending on where they settle, after an initial honeymoon period many refugees instead encounter anti-immigrant hostility and streets covered in snow. — Lisa Aronson Fontes Ph.D.

As a blessed person who has fewer problems on her plate, you need to find a way to help other people. As much as possible, dedicate yourself to reaching out to those who are deeply wounded, emotionally, and physically. One of the sectors that you can help is for the refugees. These individuals are considered as victims of war crimes. They are forced to vacate or leave their countries because of various reasons. As such, you can expect them to be extremely depressed and problematic.

For today’s article, we are going to provide you with a list of things to remember so that you can deal with them correctly. Take note that the way you deal with them will reflect who you are as a person. At the same time, it is also significant to know how to offer your help to them so that you will not end up offending them. Here are the top things to remember:

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Learn About Their Stories

Before you introduce yourself to the refugees, be sure that you know who they are and where they came from. As much as possible, make an effort to learn more about their stories so that you will know how to relate with them properly. Failure to do this can give rise to many problems because you may end up offending them. At the same time, you will also see or encounter troubles in showing them your real intentions.

Their trauma is a result of not only the experiences at home, but also of what they went through during their flight. — Marianna Pogosyan Ph.D.

Ask Questions From Others

If there are things that are unclear on your part, be sure that you will talk to the other volunteers who are helping the refugees. Never assume anything as it can lead to a bad thing. Instead, make an effort to also connect with the other people in your team. Do not hesitate to ask questions or clarifications about the lives of the refugees or how to do things right. Be open to receiving new information so that you can become better at helping the war victims

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Avoid Racism

Since you are trying to volunteer in helping the refugees, then it is safe to say that you are not a racist. However, whether you admit it to yourself or not, there are times when you can be careless with your words and actions. Even if you do not have the intention of being a racist, you may say or do something that shows otherwise. As such, make an effort to be mindful of your actions and words to ensure that you will not hurt the refugees.

People who engage in more meaningful conversations, rather than small talk, have a greater sense of well-being. But small talk may be the path to having those deeper conversations. —


Refugees belong to the set of people who are considered as underprivileged. They are the ones who have suffered from the hands of oppressors. They need you to provide them with the right amount of help or support. Do not give up on reaching out to the refugees because they need you the most. Try to be patient in dealing with them, especially at times when they reject your help. The best thing to do is to understand their situation so that you can help them better.

How To Comfort Refugees

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There are many great, essential things that you have to keep in mind if you want to help refugees. Take note that these individuals have gone through horrible things and experiences. As such, they may have different reactions to everything that they encounter. Even if your intentions are 100% pure, they may interpret what you do negatively. At the same time, they may also become unaware of how to receive help.

PTSD is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. The condition may include flashbacks — reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating; bad dreams, and frightening thoughts. — Rick Nauert PhD

Because of all this, it is right to say that the task of comforting refugees is a challenging thing that you have to remember. Always keep in mind that extending your helping hands to these people will require more patience and diligence on your part. Despite the struggles that you encounter, be sure that you will never give up on them. Here are the things that you must do:

Slow Down

The first thing to take note of is the necessity to slow down when it comes to presenting yourself to them. Do not expect them to receive your assistance right away. Instead, find a way to approach them in the right manner. As much as possible, do not be aggressive in pushing yourself to the refugees. Give them time to see that you are truly and genuinely interested in helping them.

Most deal with the discrepancy of their expectations towards the host country not matching their new realities. Then there is the lacking trust: towards the foreign therapists, or the native interpreters. — Marianna Pogosyan Ph.D.

Use The Right Words

Another tip to remember is the significance of choosing your words wisely. Learn how to think twice before you will open your mouth. Otherwise, there is a high tendency that you will end up offending the other person. When this happens, you will do more harm to them than good. As a result, they will feel more oppressed because you were careless of your words.

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Volunteer With Others

Make sure that you will also find time to connect with other volunteers who want to focus on helping refugees. Take note that the more people you have on the team, the bigger help you can provide to the war victims. It is best to find existing organizations that are dedicated to providing assistance to those who are in need. Do not hesitate to contact the volunteers from these organizations and inform them about your interest in helping.

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All too often they were deprived of the opportunity to say “goodbye,” as people vanished from one day to the next, removed by warring factions, authorities, wild beasts, or natural disasters. — Lisa Aronson Fontes Ph.D.

Make Them Feel Loved

Aside from the medical and food supplies that the refugees need, you must also make an effort to provide them acceptance. Let them feel that you are interested in loving them. Do not make a mistake of showing these people that you are helping them because you want to feel good. Instead, prove to them that you are willing to do whatever it takes to express your love to them. When this happens, their morale will improve.


Helping and comforting others will never become an easy task on your first try. There will be tons of challenges that you may need to deal with along the way. However, once you do it regularly, it will become part of your system. If this happens, everything will start to become a lot easier and more satisfying than ever. Make sure to never give up on the war victims or refugees.  

The Beauty In Helping Others

Did you know that one of the things that you must always take into consideration is the necessity to offer your help and support to others? Once you do this, you will start to live a fulfilling life to the point that you will feel happier than ever. Indeed, there are tons of benefits when you make an effort to reach out to people who need your support.

 For today’s article, we are going to talk about beauty in helping other people. Our main goal is to encourage everyone to become more willing to sharing your time and effort with those who need it. Below are the top reasons why you have to start extending your helping arms to everyone around you:

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Enduring terrible trauma is unimaginable yes, but take heart. Like all humans, you hold an innate ability to survive, prevail, and even thrive following trauma, tragedy, or tribulation. — Deborah L. Davis Ph.D.

Give Hope For Free

Are you aware that many people are no longer interested in living their lives because of the hardships that they are going through? These are the individuals who have reached their limits in dealing with the struggles that they encounter. Fortunately, there is a way to change how they feel, and that is to extend your help to them. With one word or action, you can already give them hope. Once this happens, they will become more motivated to continue living their lives. In a way, you are trying to keep them away from hurting themselves.

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Be a leader who encourages growth through vulnerability. Show your own vulnerability and express a few of your own challenges; show them how it’s done. Literally. — Teyhou Smyth Ph.D., LMFT

Inspire One Another

Another beauty of helping other people is that you can start to develop or create a culture of kindness around the community. Take note that the persons who receive your help or support will also be inspired to do the same thing to other individuals. If you show others that they have to help without expecting in return, there is a high tendency that they will also work hard to give back to others. Because of this, you should continue to show consistency in extending your helping hands to the right people.

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It Gives You Purpose

There are times in your life when you may also feel lost and discouraged because of your personal problems. Oftentimes, you may end up realizing that you no longer have an idea of how to live your life. An excellent way to change how you feel is to help other people. When you do this right, you will begin to see that you have a deeper and more meaningful purpose in this life. As a result, you will also find more reasons to continue living your life to the fullest. You are helping yourself to become more interested to get on with your days.

“Compassion,” says author Marc Barasch, “is resonating concern and an ability to see and respond to the connection between everyone and everything.” — Cedar Barstow, MEd, CHT


Make sure that you find time to extend support and help to those who need it badly. Do not be too selfish by prioritizing yourself at all times. Instead, try to share what you have to those who are underprivileged in this life. Always take note that the more you offer help to those surrounding you, the more you get the benefits mentioned above. You must help out of the goodness of your kind heart and soul.    

Psychologists Guide In Carrying Mental Health Support To Refugees

In today’s global crisis, millions of people are getting displaced from their home. The numbers of individuals getting affected by violence continue to grow more every day. With the 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 assistance are in full force to carry out support on the refugees’ mental health.

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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.

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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.

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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.

The Therapist’s Role In Repairing The Lives Of Refugee Children


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There are nearly 60 million individuals and families who have been forced to leave their homes because of oppression and various conflicts across the world. The painful truth is that half of these individuals are children – children who need shelter, food, and clothing. These are children who have physical, mental, and emotional needs that can be provided by a therapist’s professional skills and by ordinary citizens who are compassionate enough to offer help. They have gone through much depression, health problems, stress, and extreme levels of insecurity and social isolation.

Continue reading The Therapist’s Role In Repairing The Lives Of Refugee Children

People In Refugee Camps

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A refugee camp is supposed to be a place to help and shelter victims of war or national disputes, but why is it that people within contemplate suicide? Take for instance the European Union and Turkey deal. Migrants were stuck in Moira, Greek Island of Lesvos. With that, the overpopulated island has caused suffering to the migrants (most of them with a family in there) with psychological, mental and physical health problems surfacing. There is not enough assistance to handle these issues.

Continue reading People In Refugee Camps

To Build Or Not To Build

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Populist rhetoric has fanned an international wave of anti-refugee sentiment, leading to growing calls to stem the flow of refugees into the United States, Europe, Australia, and elsewhere. — Kenneth E. Miller Ph.D.

When President Trump came into office, there has been a continuous debate on whether the US should build “the wall” or not. Where did this idea come from? How did a leader come up with the idea that his country would be better with a barrier? The concept of building a wall could not be all bad. It may sound inhumane amidst the ongoing chaos in the Middle East as many people are seeking refuge, but it isn’t directly about it. Continue reading To Build Or Not To Build

Main Points That Differentiate Refugees And Asylees From Each Other

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More than 65 million people have been displaced from their homes, and the global refugee crisis touches issues of war, poverty, famine, economics, race, religion, gender, politics, policy, and justice. — Jamie D. Aten Ph.D.

Many individuals often interchange the terms “refugees” and “asylees” as if they are the same. When you ask why they do that, you may get another question thrown at you. E.g., “Aren’t they the displaced folks from other countries that seek for protection and refuge here?”

Well, if you look at the matter in this sense, asylees and refugees do not seem too different from each other. Both are immigrants who wish to live in a foreign country that’s a million miles away from one where they get persecuted or terrorized due to nationality, race, political views, et cetera. Nevertheless, there are main points that set refugees apart from asylees and vice versa.

  1. Location During The Application Process

The procedure of receiving legal status in the new nation is the first thing that differentiates the two. You see, to be able to seek asylum in the United States or any country that offers a similar program, the applicant has to be inside its borders already. In case the person is not, he or she should at least be about to travel and needs that documentation to get admitted at the port of entry.

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Persons that are deemed “illegal” or “undocumented” immigrants are simply people that do not have the official paperwork that allows them to live in another country. —

Meanwhile, applying for the refugee status requires someone to remain in his or her homeland until the decision comes. The possibility of getting approval may be slim if he or she sends the application through the immigration office in another country. It is also not allowed to try to enter the US, for instance, if the person has immigrated to any other nation before applying.

  1. Some Countries Accept More Refugees Than Asylees

Every government that takes in people whose lives may be in danger in their motherland due to racial or political persecution or terrorism has a cap when it comes to the number of asylum seekers and refugees that can gain protection within their walls. Say, in the United States, the president agrees to accept almost 70,000 persons per year as refugees. However, the asylees that are given legal status are no more than 30,000 applicants.

…refugees, especially those who are made to feel welcome in their host communities, outperform non-refugees when it comes to getting a college education. More education means higher lifetime earnings. — Michael Ungar Ph.D.

An exact reason for favoring refugees over asylum seekers is challenging to get from immigration officers, of course. Both types of displaced fellows need to prove that they cannot stay or go back to their home country because of conflict, maltreatment, or oppression. One can only assume that it is due to the more imminent threat that the former applicants deal with compared to the latter.

  1. Asylees May Not Have Legal Papers Upon Entering The Foreign Country

As mentioned above, it is one of the few requirements for asylum seekers to inside the country where they seek protection from. That entails that they may be living illegally there for some time. Once the immigration officers round them up, therefore, that is merely when they decide to apply for asylum to avoid getting deported.

Refugees, on the other hand, are the people who do not wish to go through all that trouble. They are trying to be lawful by applying for this particular status before entering their country of choice. Thus, they won’t have to hide from the authorities when there is legal permission in their hands.

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In Conclusion

Despite all these differences, when asylees and refugees receive an authorized status to go to a specific nation, they will experience the same privileges. The United States particularly allows either to apply for a work permit after that. When a year passes, they can get a green card. Four years later, they may be able to apply for citizenship. It may take the same amount of time to become a naturalized resident in other countries too.

Typical Mental Health Disorders That Refugees Develop

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Becoming a refugee is something that nobody can ever envision happening to themselves. One day, you are going through your regular activities as usual. You pay your taxes on time; you try to live without stepping over anyone. However, if a war erupts or a deadly typhoon ruins your place and livelihood, none of that will matter. If you refuse to stay in shelters, you may end up fleeing the country and becoming refugees in a stronger, more stable nation.

The thing is, the process of relocating is never as easy as it seems. One highly documented story is the escape of Syrians from their homeland to Europe. Due to the chaos in Syria, many do not have the means to take a legal route and book a flight to their target destination. They usually need to pay thousands of dollars to get smuggled into another country via small boats, buses, or sometimes even covered trucks.

For more than 25 years, researchers and clinicians generally assumed that war exposure was the critical determinant influencing refugees’ well-being. This led to lots of studies assessing exposure to wartime violence and loss, with limited consideration of the chronic adversity experienced by refugees after leaving their homeland. — Kenneth E. Miller Ph.D.

What Syrians experience, though, is almost the same as what other asylum seekers are willing to undergo to ensure their safety and future. They are fearless indeed, but it is typical for refugees to develop the following mental health disorders because of it too.

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The reality that displaced individuals and families need to face is undoubtedly a challenge to accept immediately. You may have a stable career in your country, for instance, yet you need to take odd jobs in the new one to get by. You want to be at least able to visit any relative who got left behind, but you know that is not possible.

Because of that, it seems too natural for these people to acquire depression. According to statistics, this mental disorder occurs as much as PTSD. Usually, they also comorbid with each other, hence increasing the problem of the refugees.

African civilians in war-torn countries have experienced the threat of violence or death, and many have witnessed the abuse, torture, rape, and even murder of loved ones. As a result, many Congolese living in Ugandan refugee camps are suffering from severe PTSD. — Rick Nauert PhD


The primary condition that asylum seekers tend to deal with is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This illness is not only common for veterans of war but also for the regular citizens who happened to get caught in the middle of the battle. You can never get used to bombings and shootings, after all. The more you experience it, the more trauma sticks to you, to the extent that you cannot shake it off anymore.

Based on an International Journal of Mental Health Systems study in 2017, it appears that 40 percent of the refugees in various countries live with PTSD. Men, women, and children – they carry the same disorder. That is quite worrying since the disease is known to make someone paranoid or develop hostile tendencies that might put themselves or others in danger if left untreated.

Post-Migration Stress

As mentioned earlier, the road to freedom is not smooth for all the refugees. It is ideal if you have relatives or friends in the country where you intend to go. They can take you in or even provide legal documents so that you won’t need to tread the waters in a small boat or transact with lawless folks. However, in case you know nobody there, you may have no other option but the latter.

This nightmarish experience can cause anyone to develop post-migration stress. It does not help either that no home or job is waiting for them in the new nation.

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…mental health professionals have been working in tandem with social workers, medical doctors, language teachers and specially trained interpreters to provide comprehensive, multifaceted care for the refugees. According to Dr. Nadine Stammel who leads the research department of the Berlin Center Of Torture Victims (BZFO), this multi-modal approach has had positive outcomes, with preliminary findings showing a decrease in trauma-related disorders and an increase in quality of life. — Marianna Pogosyan Ph.D.

Final Thoughts

Becoming a refugee is much worse than being homeless. The displacement entails that you have to leave everything you hold dear – e.g., your home, friends,and career – behind. You need to handle the fact that you will forever be indebted to the country that accepted you and your family. Furthermore, the possibility of returning to your roots may be dire unless the commotion there stops. Thus, it seems like dodging the mental health disorders above may not be a cakewalk.

If you know an asylum seeker who developed a psychological condition due to the dangers he or she escaped from their homeland, you should try to help him or her in any way. Good luck!