Injustice, Stigma

Immigration, Children, and Trauma

***Trigger Warning*** (Trauma, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Trauma.

One little word can have so much of an impact on a person’s life. One little word can change your life forever.

I’ve been thinking about trauma lately, especially with the news of the family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border. 

I’ve been heartbroken, disgusted, and outraged. More than anything else, I fear how this will impact the children who have been separated from their families. I fear they will be traumatized to the point of developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

According to the National Institute for Mental Health, here are some risk factors for PTSD:

  • Living through dangerous events
  • Getting hurt
  • Seeing another person hurt, or seeing a dead body
  • Feeling horror, helplessness, or extreme fear
  • Having little or no social support after the event
  • Dealing with extra stress after the event, such as the loss of a loved one, pain or injury, or loss of a job or home.

These kids have likely experienced most of the things on this list, if not all of them. We’re kidding ourselves if we think that this policy won’t hurt these innocent children.

The effects of childhood trauma on children are even scarier. Here’s what the National Child Traumatic Stress Network says about trauma and children ages 0-6:

Young children who experience trauma are at particular risk because their rapidly developing brains are very vulnerable. Early childhood trauma has been associated with reduced size of the brain cortex. This area is responsible for many complex functions including memory, attention, perceptual awareness, thinking, language, and consciousness. These changes may affect IQ and the ability to regulate emotions, and the child may become more fearful and may not feel as safe or as protected.

I know that I don’t normally cover politics on my blog, but right now, the United States has a humanitarian crisis on its hands. There’s a large group of children who have a very high risk of developing PTSD and other cognitive and developmental issues due to a dangerous immigration policy.

As heartbreaking as it is to talk about, we need everyone to make noise. We need everyone to stand up and say “this is not okay!”

It’s easy to feel helpless and hopeless in situations like this. The good news is, there’s plenty you can do to help, even if you don’t live in the United States.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Write, call, and/or meet with your representatives. Encourage your friends and family to contact their representatives as well. We need to show our representatives that this policy is intolerable and inexcusable.
  • Donate to an organization that’s helping to fight against this policy. This article has a long list of organizations to donate to and volunteer with.
  • Sign petitions to reverse this policy. Here’s one from Change.org. Don’t forget to share it on social media!
  • Talk about this issue on social media.
  • If you run a blog or a YouTube channel, talk about this issue. It doesn’t matter how small it is, something is better than nothing.
    • Alternatively, if you don’t have a blog, feel free to share this blog post.

It’s easy to feel powerless when things like this happen. It’s also easy to give up and accept defeat. We can’t sit back and do nothing.

Regardless about what you think about immigration, these are innocent children caught in the crossfire. They are someone’s son or daughter. Right now, they have no voice. Right now, we must be their voice. We must be their advocates. We can’t stop until this horrific policy has ended once and for all.

 

 

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