Bilingual International Assistant Services is providing newly arrived Afghans who suffer from combat-related trauma with mental health support.
The St. Louis nonprofit received a $1.8 million grant from the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement to offer mental health assessments, counseling services and individual and group therapy sessions to Afghans who moved to St. Louis after August 2021. The Services to Afghan Survivors Impacted by Combat program also will provide psychiatric counseling and long-term psychiatric care.
Newly arrived Afghans in the region are suffering from anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder and need help coping, said Haroon Safi, program coordinator at Bilingual International Assistant Services.
“Leaving everything [for] Western life, that’s a big culture shock for them, so that will intensify everything — their mental health situation,” Safi said.
Afghans who arrived in the U.S. as part of Operation Allies Welcome or Operation Allies Refuge can qualify for the mental health services.
The three-year grant allows the nonprofit to hire more caseworkers and therapists for about 600 Afghans.
Read more at News.StLPublicRadio.org.