The plight of refugees
We humans, from the days of our hunters and gatherers ancestors, are inherently xenophobic. We feel a sense of threat when we see people with a different culture and language about which we have no idea.
She grabbed onto her bag tightly not wanting to let go. Eyes filled with tears, fear in her heart, and wretchedness in her soul. She turned to take one final look wondering if she ever would come back to the land she once called home.
Every year, millions of people get displaced from their homeland. The reasons are not concerned with seeking a better living standard. The reasons are concerned with saving the life itself!
Situations like War, political conflicts, armed conflicts, mafia rule make people leave everything behind and escape their homeland, and this is how they become refugees. A refugee is defined as an individual who fears being victimized based on race, nationality, caste, religion, or political identity and seeks protection in another nation. They are also referred to as asylum seekers and displaced people (DP).
53% of the world’s refugees come from 3 nations Syria, Afghanistan, and South Sudan.
Being cast away from the house, the street, the nation they grew up in. The loss for them is much more than just material. They have to face social and cultural change. The most daunting thing about being a refugee is facing xenophobia. We humans, from the days of our hunters and gatherers ancestors, are inherently xenophobic. We feel a sense of threat when we see people with a different culture and language about which we have no idea. Usually, a refugee is treated as a sub-human in the land where he has sought refuge.
Refugees have to deal with a lot of emotional and psychological stress. Even if they seek refuge in a neighboring country with a similar language and ethnicity, they tend to hide their identity. They often confront the misconceptions of culture back home. It includes a range of social customs to issues like attitudes towards gender, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, and diversity. It leads to the isolation of refugees from the rest of the mainstream place. This is how refugees end up being in a ghetto. This affects the mental health of the refugees severely.
The change for them is sudden.
The sudden change creates havoc in the individuals as they find it difficult to create a balance between the culture that they brought with them and the new one they found in the host nation. The children miss out on carefree childhood. Those days are rather filled with trauma, poverty, and misery.
According to American Psychological Association (APA), 1 in every 3 displaced persons suffers from depression, anxiety, or/and PTSD. Going through such a huge loss and trauma makes them vulnerable to developing mental health illnesses. For many of the refugees, Mental health remains an alien term. Even if they will be undergoing depression, they won't even know there is a term called "depression" that denotes their current state of mind!
Imagine yourself in a refugee camp, sitting and remembering your home, your friends with whom you used to play, a lover who is left behind, the girl next door who was raped by the terrorists, the mafia who tried to shot you but he missed the target. You escaped it, ran for your life, and ended up here, in the refugee camp!
Don't you get a lot of complex emotions just by thinking about it?
A refugee goes through it and the emotions are much more intense than what you got just by reading the above lines!
Mental health services should be provided to the refugee population keeping in mind their culture and social support. Providing them with psychological first aid has proven to reduce stress and give better coping mechanisms. It also helps build resilience. UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) has for years attempted to restore their basic rights. Olympic association's attempt to building the refuges Olympic team is a huge step forward in building a better world for them. To make them feel more included and offering them a place they deserve.
Refugees are the first victims of terrorism. They need to be strengthened and helped in every possible way to build a life, to forget the trauma and grief. Moving forward with strength, courage and create a better future. It is our humanitarian duty to include them in our world to build a more inclusive society.
Refugees didn’t just escape a place. They had to escape a thousand memories until they’d put enough time and distance between them and their misery to wake to a better day