Presenter Information

Mira Shoukry
Nuria Ibanez

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Nuria Ibáñez

Faculty Sponsor College

College of Arts and Sciences

Faculty Sponsor Department

Languages, Literatures & Cultures

Location

SOARS Virtual Conference

Presentation Website

https://unfsoars.domains.unf.edu/2021/posters/invisible-tolls-of-immigration-mental-health-among-young-immigrants/

Keywords

SOARS (Conference) (2021 : University of North Florida) – Archives; SOARS (Conference) (2021 : University of North Florida) – Posters; University of North Florida -- Students -- Research – Posters; University of North Florida. Office of Undergraduate Research; University of North Florida. Graduate School; College students – Research -- Florida – Jacksonville – Posters; University of North Florida – Undergraduates -- Research – Posters; University of North Florida. Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures -- Research -- Posters

Abstract

This brief literature review details existing research surrounding the topic of mental health among young immigrants while bringing attention to a widely ignored issue. While those born in the United States are generally aware of the large Hispanic immigrant population in the country, most do not witness the extremely difficult and often traumatic process of immigration. A search of the PubMed database has revealed a severe lack of research into the unique factors affecting the mental health of young immigrants. Despite limited studies, there appears to be a general consensus that immigrant children in particular are at a significantly increased risk of developing chronic mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Among the factors contributing to this, violence experienced during immigration was one of the most commonly reported by children. However, the trauma experienced by immigrants is not limited to events that occur before or during immigration. Following their arrival to the United States, Hispanic children often live in constant fear of deportation or separation from their families. Furthermore, discrimination due to linguistic and cultural differences leads to lasting effects on their self-esteem. The absence of further research, as well as the lack of attention to this topic, reveals systemic shortcomings that must be addressed by public health officials and politicians as well as the general public.

Comments

Audio Presentation Transcript:

I originally selected this topic for a project in the Spanish for Health Professions course here at UNF. However, as I searched PubMed for relevant articles, I quickly found that there is a severe lack of research surrounding the mental health of immigrants, particularly children. With the growing population of immigrants in the United States, I believe that it is important to raise awareness of the mental tolls that the immigration process can have on children. Existing literature has detailed traumas experienced before, during, and after immigration ranging from violence and natural disasters to discrimination, and the vast majority of young immigrants experiencing at least one traumatic event. These traumas have been consistently correlated with a significantly increased incidence of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and attention deficit disorder among immigrant children. These conditions persist long after arriving to the United States and sometimes even worsen due to fears of separation from their families and discrimination.

So how can we as a society help? I believe it is important to first educate ourselves and educate others on the topic in order to lessen or eliminate the stigma surrounding mental illness in most immigrant communities. We should also call upon public health officials or politicians to find ways to make mental health screenings and treatments more accessible to these communities who may otherwise not be able to seek professional help due to socioeconomic factors. Further research into the mental health of young immigrants is certainly needed, and I hope that my presentation can bring attention to this very serious topic.

Thank you for your time!

Rights Statement

http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/

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Apr 7th, 12:00 AM Apr 7th, 12:00 AM

Invisible Tolls of Immigration: Mental Health Among Young Immigrants

SOARS Virtual Conference

This brief literature review details existing research surrounding the topic of mental health among young immigrants while bringing attention to a widely ignored issue. While those born in the United States are generally aware of the large Hispanic immigrant population in the country, most do not witness the extremely difficult and often traumatic process of immigration. A search of the PubMed database has revealed a severe lack of research into the unique factors affecting the mental health of young immigrants. Despite limited studies, there appears to be a general consensus that immigrant children in particular are at a significantly increased risk of developing chronic mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Among the factors contributing to this, violence experienced during immigration was one of the most commonly reported by children. However, the trauma experienced by immigrants is not limited to events that occur before or during immigration. Following their arrival to the United States, Hispanic children often live in constant fear of deportation or separation from their families. Furthermore, discrimination due to linguistic and cultural differences leads to lasting effects on their self-esteem. The absence of further research, as well as the lack of attention to this topic, reveals systemic shortcomings that must be addressed by public health officials and politicians as well as the general public.

https://digitalcommons.unf.edu/soars/2021/spring_2021/83

 

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