“We need to take care of each other” Mental health for immigrants and refugees BY SOL DE MEDIANOCHE
There is a general agreement across the nation that the proposed policies trickling through the Trump administration are causing major amounts of stress and anxiety among immigrant populations,” says Rebecca Robinson, a psychologist specializing in mental health for immigrants and refugees. A professor at UAA, Robinson believes that this stress is aggravated by uncertainty regarding how these policies will affect immigrant communities. For example, after the executive order signed by President Trump on January 27, in which travelers from six countries were banned from entering the United States, Robinson says that “immigrant students at UAA, from around the entire world, were fearful, scared to leave the country, scared about if they were going to go back from where they came from. There has been mass confusion and fear around it.”
When asked how to fight the anxiety generated by such policies, Robinson responds, “first, with information.” The psychologist suggests that people consult reliable sources about the situation and learn their rights.
Robinson says: “Any time there is an increase in stress you are going to contemplating suicide or people close to them who perceive a risk may request support at this phone number. In emergency cases, you can also go to Providence ER. Providence Family Medicine Center offers behavioral therapy services, and you can request the support of interpreters in Spanish. (Behavioral therapy requires registration in advance.)
The Psychological Services Center of UAA offers therapy sessions through its students who are supervised by teachers, all of whom are licensed practitioners. This is an affordable option for members of the community.
The Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center also has staff who specialize in behavioral health. The Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center accepts Medicaid, and can provide an interpreter as well.
In addition, one may consult privately with members of the Alaska Psychological Association. To find a specialist who offers consultations, https://www.ak-pa. org/referral-directory/#!directory. Regarding the privacy of what is shared in a professional mental or behavioral health service, Robinson stresses that “when working with a licensed practitioner, the patient is protected by confidentiality. So if you’ve shared with me as a psychologist that you’re undocumented, you are protected. It would be illegal for me to break confidentiality and tell somebody your immigration status.”
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