Senseless Violence Against Central American Unaccompanied Minors: Historical Background and Call for Help

Author(s): Cheryl B. SAWYER ; Judith MÁRQUEZ

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00223980.2016.1226743

Abstract

The southwestern U.S. border has recently seen a significant increase in the number of unaccompanied children from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador illegally crossing the Mexican border into the United States. Many of these children leave home to flee violence, starvation, impoverished living conditions, or other life-threatening situations. The treatment of acute stress, anxiety, and depression associated with traumatic events is crucial in helping these children address these negative psychological events they have experienced so that they can move forward with their lives. Untreated, traumatic events experienced by this population can develop into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a potentially life-changing and physically threatening psychological and medical issue. The United States needs to effectively address the serious matter of responding to mental health issues facing refugees from war-torn or impoverished nations so as to help them to successfully adjust to American systems. There is a need for researchers in the mental health field to focus efforts in designing, implementing, and evaluating methodologies that can help these children develop healthy strategies for living with a very difficult and complex past.

KEYWORDS: Immigrantsmental healthrefugeesunaccompanied children

Tags: USA, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Central America, Unaccompanied minors, Children, Adolescents, Traumatic life events, Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, Treatment

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