Healing and Human Rights: A Blog by the Center for Victims of Torture

Showing all blog posts in mental health

December2015 StCloud Training Welcome

While news reports have focused on refugees desperately seeking safety and stability in Europe, other refugees who have been resettled are working to integrate into new communities such as St. Cloud, Minnesota. Earlier this winter, CVT facilitated a training and networking session in St. Cloud for professionals who work with refugee communities and for the newcomers themselves.

Zarqa Family_mother and son

In honor of National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day, we’re sharing this article that was originally published in our Storycloth newsletter in November 2014.

Increasingly, our staff in Jordan is seeing children and young people who need mental health and physical therapy care to cope with their traumatic experiences. Now, more than a third of our clients in Jordan are under the age of 18. To help heal these young survivors, the counseling and physical therapy staff developed ten-week joint physical therapy/counseling groups that provide age-appropriate activities.

“Your help to me is mandatory because if you do not help me I will die.” Those were the first words from Oba, a young Congolese man who joined one of our counseling groups.

A new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that six in ten Americans say U.S. spending to improve health in developing countries is helpful in improving the U.S. image abroad.

The Government of Germany recently hosted an international conference in Berlin on the “Syrian Refugee Situation – Supporting Stability in the Region.”

A study by researchers from The University of Texas at Austin and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University finds that at least 20 percent of incoming Congolese refugee women are expected to be resettled in the United States under the “women-at-risk” designation.

For nearly three years, the Center for Victims of Torture has provided mental health care to refugees in the world’s largest refugee camp in northeastern Kenya. We hire and train men and women who are part of the refugee community in Dadaab, a complex of camps near the Somali-Kenya border. As mental health paraprofessionals, or psychosocial counselors (PSCs), they were recruited through a very competitive interviewing process.

Each year, thousands of Eritreans flee to refugee camps in northern Ethiopia to escape forced military inscription, persecution, and torture. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recently announced that Ethiopia is now the largest refugee-hosting country in Africa. According to UNHCR, Ethiopia is host to 629,718 refugees. The largest refugee population is South Sudanese (247,000), followed by Somalis (245,000), and Eritreans (99,000). UNHCR says that, over the past seven months, almost 15,000 Eritreans arrived in Ethiopia.As the Eritrean government targets the families of young men who flee the country to avoid forced conscription, more women and children have also fled Eritrea seeking refuge in Ethiopia.

Fifteen U.S. Senators, including Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, recently sent a letter to President Obama urging him to extend for two years Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Liberians residing legally in the United States. The current eighteen-month DED extension is set to expire on September 30, 2014.

Curt Goering is the Executive Director of CVT. In 2009 and 2010, he served as Head of the Gaza office for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. While previously working at Amnesty International, he also investigated the impact of rockets fired from Gaza on communities in southern Israel. Here, Curt reflects on his experience in light of the recent ongoing violence and the heavy psychological toll the conflict is inflicting on children from both sides.

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