BY STEFANI MCDADE
One of World Relief’s focuses is on dealing with the trauma incoming Afghans will face upon their escape from Afghanistan and entrance to America. Because of these accelerated immigration processes, their experiences in their home country will be much fresher than for Afghans resettled in previous years.
“I can tell you there is a significant amount of mental health needs. The refugee process is born out of trauma always,” said Kerry Ham, the local director for World Relief Sacramento. But for Afghans “this is very acute, and it’s a lot of people at one time”—so “much of the funding we’re looking at for the next year is developing those pathways to help have thriving, integrated, brand-new Americans.”
World Relief Sacramento has enlisted Afghan counselors from the community to come alongside newly arrived Afghan individuals in the process. Many evacuees suffer from survivor’s guilt in leaving behind loved ones who are now facing the risk of being targeted and killed by the Taliban.
The primary factor when it comes to dealing with mental health issues is being aware of and sensitive to the religious background of Afghans, who are coming from a country that is over 99 percent Muslim.