In 2021, 453 immigrant youth received free mental health wellness presentations, and 307 immigrant youth participated in psychoeducational skills groups to learn about managing stress.
Migrant children often arrive in the United States with extensive prior trauma before facing additional stressors in the US, like the threat of deportation, a lack of legal counsel, difficult family dynamics, academic challenges, and more. These challenges can exacerbate existing mental health problems. As a result, newcomer youth are more likely to struggle in isolation with symptoms of PTSD, Anxiety, and Depression.
Yet, these children often cannot access mental health support due to multiple barriers, including financial barriers, cultural and linguistic barriers, survival needs, and the stigma attached to mental illness.* Further, few mental health providers with the clinical expertise and cultural and linguistic competence to treat this population exist, particularly in rural areas.
Recognizing the dire gap in mental health services for immigrant youth in the Greater Philadelphia Area, Project Libertad partnered with the Immigrant Psychology Network in 2020 to launch a Legal-Mental Health Partnership in order to increase awareness and access to mental health services for immigrant youth.
* “Mental Health of Migrant Children,” Saida M. Abdi, (Aug. 2018).