The “You Are Not Alone” Project began in January 2017, in response to public health concerns about the mental health and well-being of marginalized youth experiencing increased distress in the current sociopolitical climate. For refugee/immigrant children, fear of being forcibly separated from family through deportation is heightened. The threat of separation from family, or of the return to life threatening circumstances, generates a sense of hopelessness and helplessness. Youth of color and LGBTQ youth are frightened that civil rights and broader social acceptance that has been advancing in recent years are at risk. Children of same-gender couples also fear the dissolution of their parents’ marriage and subsequent loss of guardianship. These fears increase a sense of isolation and hopelessness. As a result, community counseling centers have been overwhelmed with the volume of calls for support, and schools are reporting instances of hate speech, racist vandalism and bullying.
In response, the Center for Childhood Resilience (CCR) staff and collaborators hosted training events and webinars, training over 1,200 educators, community providers, community navigators, mental health providers, pediatric providers and families to help them recognize and respond to signs and symptoms of distress and crisis for refugee and immigrant children and families impacted by the sociopolitical climate.
In 2018, CCR will continue to work with adults serving refugee and immigrant youth and families, and expand our reach to support other marginalized populations experiencing heightened distress.