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Study: families separated under Trump border policy experience psychological trauma, mental health problems as results

The Guardian:  “Children and parents forcibly separated at the US-Mexican border under Donald Trump’s policy of ‘zero tolerance’ are showing signs of severe psychological trauma and mental health disorders that have endured even after they were reunited, a new study has found. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) have released the first qualitative analysis to be carried out on the mental health effects of Trump’s highly contentious policy of enforced family separation which provoked outrage and condemnation around the world.

“Between 2017 and 2018, the US government under Trump’s direction separated more than 5,000 children – the youngest just four months old – from their parents as an act of deterrence to other would-be asylum seekers fleeing violence and persecution in Central America. As of September, 1,677 children had yet to be reunited with their parents, including 381 children whose status and whereabouts were unknown. In its groundbreaking new study, PHR brought together trained clinical experts including psychologists, psychiatrists and pediatricians to delve into the medical and legal documents of 31 of the children and parents subjected to family separation. The study group comprised asylum seekers from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador and included 19 parents and 12 children of whom the youngest was six at the time they were wrenched from their families.

“The clinicians diagnosed all the individuals contained in the study group with at least one mental health condition arising from the suffering they faced fleeing their countries of origin combined with the devastating trauma of being torn apart from their families by US border agents. The most common conditions were post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety.”

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