JRS/USA Takes to Capitol Hill for Advocacy Day

28 March 2023

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Today, advocates and staff of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA (JRS/USA) met with their members of Congress and asked for an increase in the mental health services that are provided to refugees. More than 160 people, representing 29 states and Washington, DC, met with their Representatives and Senators to push for passage of the Mental Health in International Development and Humanitarian Settings (MINDS) Act, which was introduced earlier this month by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA), and Rep. Joe Wilson (S-SC).

Studies have shown that refugees and migrants have a higher prevalence of mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and even psychoses, linked to the cumulative effects of past experiences, heightened by the daily stressors they experience in displacement.

“Now is the time to place a spotlight on this important issue,” said Giulia McPherson, Director of Advocacy at JRS/USA. “By prioritizing mental health in countries that have welcomed refugees, and with the support of donors like the United States, foreign assistance dollars can help ensure that communities impacted by displacement will have a better chance of recovering and building back better.”

The JRS/USA advocacy day coincides with the release of a new report, “Coping During Displacement: Integrating MHPSS in Refugee Assistance Programs” which is available today on the JRS/USA website.