I am reflecting on all the changes that have occurred since last year. While record numbers of people are being displaced worldwide by violent conflict and fear of persecution, our country and other countries of resettlement are closing their doors to newcomers. In the meantime, refugees in the United States are separated from loved ones who remained behind, and many programs that support refugees are being reduced… like the Refugee Health Promotion Grant that funds our services.
Despite these challenges, the UNC Refugee Mental Health and Wellness Initiative continues to provide essential mental health services and supports to refugees in the North Carolina Triangle Area. Between August 2013 and April 2017, we:
- Screened 412 new refugee referrals using evidence-based mental health instruments
- Engaged over 130 people in individual therapy and/or community support groups, and provided health related services to over 330 people… totaling almost 5500 hours of direct support!
- Engaged refugee people from Afghanistan, Burma, Burundi, Central African Republic, Colombia, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, and Syria among others
- Found that our services are effective – people who engaged in treatment with us on average experienced significant reductions in the emotional distress, and reported that they were better able to cope with stressors in their lives.
This year, please consider making a tax-deductible donation here (in the “Gift Information” section, type “refugee” into the Search box and click on the highlighted phrase “Refugee Wellness 491901” that appears). With your help, we will keep supporting our newest neighbors and helping them to heal the invisible wounds of war.
Josh Hinson, MSW, LCSW
Clinical Assistant Professor, School of Social Work
Program Director, UNC Refugee Mental Health and Wellness Initiative
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill