APA urges for support for Syrian refugees
A letter to the secretary of state asks the Obama administration to seek emergency mental health
funds from Congress.
APA has called on the Obama
administration to work with Congress
to win the release of emergency funds
to support the mental health and
community integration of Syrian
refugees fleeing to the United States.
“[F]unding for services for
refugee populations has remained
flat for nearly 25 years, despite clearly
increasing needs,” APA officials said
in a letter to Secretary of State John F.
Kerry. “In addition to vital housing,
employment and language services,
some of this funding should be
used to train staff in mental health
screening; provide access to mental
health professionals either on staff
or through contract to serve the
refugee population in a culturally and
linguistically appropriate way; and
enhance community integration.”
The letter, dated Oct. 14 and
signed by APA President Barry
Anton, PhD, and CEO Norman B.
Anderson, PhD, asks Kerry to work
with Congress to win the release
of funds to the State Department’s
Reception and Placement Program
and the Department of Health and
Human Services’ Office of Refugee
The letter cited research-based
resources and programs that U.S.
officials can use to help refugees
recover from trauma and begin
new lives. “APA stands ready to
assist in providing knowledge about
acculturation challenges and effective
interventions based on well-established
psychological science to address the
needs of refugees and the communities
that host them,” the letter said. n
— Kim I. Mills
Syrian refugees at the Keleti Railway Station, in Budapest, Hungary.