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Supporting the Mental Health of Refugees



The recent news about Ukraine and the impact of war on innocent civilians is absolutely heartbreaking. The collective trauma that this nation is facing is something we have seen before (in countries like Syria), yet it never becomes less shocking and tragic. The consequences of existing amidst the violence of war are so large that scientists have begun to utilize a new diagnosis for individuals in Syria titled “Human Devastation Syndrome”. Many are unable to leave their home country in the midst of war due to refugee quotas, lack of resources, or fear of being away from family, leaving them continually exposed to the turmoil of war. Yet, even for refugees who are able to successfully resettle, there can be a major impact on health and wellbeing. We would also be remiss not to address the impact war often has on our youngest citizens. This powerful article from NPR about the repercussions of the war in Ukraine shows how parents can be a protective support system from the stress Ukrainian children are facing. Additionally, parents outside of Ukraine should also be aware of their ability to minimize anxiety about what is going on in the world right now. Calming children with an age appropriate conversation about war and other conflict may seem difficult, but can be important for providing necessary comfort during this time. This interview offers additional tips on how to be prepared for inevitable questions from young ones about the jarring news on Ukraine.


If there is a small role that we can play to support Ukrainian citizens and refugees, it is crucial that we do so. We are proud of our partners at the Trauma Resource Institute for their recognition of the positive impact that the Community Resilience Model training can have on managing trauma through bodily-based interventions. As a result, they have provided virtual CRM training for Ukrainian people to support their wellbeing in the midst of horrific chaos. Other organizations that have supported refugees throughout the years include the incredible Refugee Women’s Network, who launched a hiking group in 2021 to promote community and wellbeing for this population, and the Center for Victims of Torture, who provide resources, training, and advocacy for those impacted by global crises. For a large list of organizations in Clarkston GA supporting refugees, we recommend this guide.


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