Asheville, Charlotte, Durham, Greensboro, and Raleigh are starting to see Afghan refugees, who were displaced from their home country in August, resettle in North Carolina. As they arrive, other Afghan residents already in this state have lessons in some of the mental health challenges that often accompany refugees fleeing turmoil who are suddenly thrust into a new life in a foreign place.
Since the Taliban overthrew the Afghan government on Aug. 15 and U.S troops withdrew from the country 15 days later, many who had lived in the country and fled for safety reasons are being dispersed around the globe.
According to a 2019 article from the Human Rights Watch, about half of the Afghan population experiences post-traumatic stress, anxiety, or depression.
Khadija Bahari, an Afghan woman from the Hazara ethnic group who moved to this country in 2005 and now lives in Virginia, often speaks about seeking equality for women in Afghanistan. In a recent telephone interview, Bahari said that it has been hard to watch and read the news about the Taliban takeover of the government.
Some people do not seek professional help to soothe their anxiety and mental stress. Bahari, who understands some of the challenges and disparities that her ethnic group faces in Afghanistan, has found support among other Hazara women. In recent months, they got together and lamented that Hazara Afghans do not seem to be able to leave the country as easily as some of the other ethnic groups.
Although Bahari has a support system of her own, she questions whether the most recent arrivals from Afghanistan will have sufficient resources.
“I don’t think there are very many sources,” Bahari said. “Lots of people, maybe 90 percent of these people cannot speak English. They are coming from rural Afghanistan with those mentalities, and it’s all shocking, even the good things in the U.S. are shocking for them. They have to go through adjusting to a new culture.”
Read more at NorthCarolinaHealthNews.org.