Refugees are at risk for experiencing significant distress due to the current uncertainty of what the future holds for their families. Many may fear an interference to resettlement efforts and current available resources. Concerns can be addressed by reassuring families that refugees are entitled to certain rights and benefits, and that the current laws for rights to refugees have not changed. They have the right to safety, food, housing, and medical care.
Many refugees were victims of human rights abuses and may have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. Their trauma history makes them particularly vulnerable during times of stress and uncertainty. Children and youth are reportedly experiencing significant distress. Some signs of distress may include:
- substance abuse
- excessive worry
- aggressive behaviour
Resources and suggestions for how to help
- Mental health resource for refugee children and youth
- Lurie resource for marginalized youth
- Group support: Refugees benefit from talking with other people who have had similar experiences. It will be important to encourage connection with others to reduce isolation and depression. Refugees may benefit from having a common meeting place for communities to come together to talk about their worries and fears.
Reporting a hate crime
There has been a recent increase in number of hate crimes around the country. Minority groups, including refugees, are at risk of being victims of these crimes. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a hate crime, report a hate crime to:
- Local police
- Massachusetts hate crimes hotline: 1-800-994-3228
- American Civil Liberties Union
- File a civil rights complaint: http://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/filing-a-complaint/complaint-process/