The role of cultural psychiatry in improving the policy response to Central America’s unaccompanied minors at the American border: Local and global implications

Author(s): Neil Krishan AGGARWAL ; Pablo FARIAS ; Anne BECKER ; Robert LIKE ; Francis LU ; Nadia ORYEMA ; Roberto LEWIS-FERNANDEZ


Since 2014, children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras unaccompanied by their parents have fled in large numbers to the USA to escape violent crime and social disadvantage. Current mental health policies in the US government’s response can be improved based on guidelines from professional psychiatric and psychological organizations. These guidelines emphasize the importance of immigration and culture, raising questions into how the field of cultural psychiatry can offer conceptual frameworks and methods to research unaccompanied minor migration as a humanitarian problem. This paper conducts a policy analysis by reviewing shortcomings in the US response and explores the potential contributions of cultural psychiatrists in optimizing services to address the needs of these children in the US and their countries of origin.


KEYWORDS: cultural psychiatrymental health policychild and adolescent psychiatryCentral America

Tags: Children, Adolescents, Unaccompanied minors, Access to mental health care, Mental health policy, Cultural psychiatry, Central America, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, USA

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