Studies show almost all refugees suffer some trauma in being wrenched from their homelands. But professionals who work with Afghan evacuees say many are plagued not by specific mental health conditions, nor by anguish that peaks and slowly passes, but by unresolvable grief and anxiety over the loss of living children and spouses who could not get out.
“It’s active, it’s now, it’s every day,” said Gretchen Shanfeld, senior director of program operations at Nationalities Service Center, a lead resettlement agency in Philadelphia.
NSC is trying a different way to help, connecting evacuees such as Karimi with Afghan peer-wellness liaisons who provide emotional support and encouragement. They’re always available. And at the same time they try to keep clients moving forward in their transition to America.
Some clients may benefit from a traditional approach of therapy and medication, NSC said. But for others the stigma of treatment, the language barriers, and limited access to care — the pool of Dari- and Pashto-speaking mental-health professionals is small — demands a different approach.
Read more at Inquirer.com.