Summary: Refugee, immigrant, or asylum-seeking (forced migrant) youth experience extremely high levels of traumatic exposure and have high prevalence rates of PTSD and other mental health diagnoses. HAI plans to apply lessons learned as an existing NCTSN Category III site to expand and improve services for this population through the Healing Journeys project. With this project, HAI aims to partner with forced migrant youth ages 0-21 and their families in the Chicago area to (1) identify their goals for health and healing and (2) accompany them on their therapeutic journey to realize these goals through trauma-informed, evidence-based mental health services. HAI requests $600,000 per year for five years to support this project.
Population(s) to be served: This project will serve forced youth ages 0-21 who have experienced trauma either in their home country, during migration, or through the resettlement process in the U.S. While HAI’s experience is that these youth possess remarkable resiliencies and strengths, they often carry emotional and even physical wounds, are separated from crucial support networks, including family, and must learn multiple skills very quickly to successfully adapt to their new life. In the past 4.5 years of NCTSN funding, HAI has served over 150 youth from 34 different countries, speaking 22 languages.
Strategies & Interventions: Healing Journeys will provide services within the Healing Ethno-Racial Trauma (HEART) Framework, with support of NCTSI Category II site Kennedy Krieger. Interventions include individual and group therapy using evidence-based practices such as Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Supporting Transition Resilience in Newcomer Groups (STRONG), and Attachment Vitamins.
Project goals and measurable objectives: HAI intends to meet the needs outlined above through four interrelated goals:
GOAL 1: Improve the mental health outcomes of forcibly displaced youth ages 0-21 who have had trauma and/or grief-related experiences through implementation of evidence-based programming.
GOAL 2: Enhance the capacity of child-serving systems in the Chicago area and Illinois to provide trauma- and grief-informed services for forcibly displaced youth and their families.
GOAL 3: Increase the capacity of treatment providers to address the impact of complex trauma throughout childhood, with a focus on understanding the impact of ethno-racial trauma, migration trauma, and grief and ambiguous loss on forcibly displaced youth.
GOAL 4: Collaborate with community-based partners and forcibly displaced communities in Illinois to increase awareness of, participation in, and access to, trauma and grief-informed treatment and services for forcibly displaced youth and their families.
Illustrative examples of the measureable objectives for this project include:
Objective 1.1 Through the provision of evidence-based and evidence-informed, culturally and linguistically appropriate, mental health services, at least 85% of forcibly-displaced youth between the ages of 0-21 will show improvement in mental health symptoms by the end of treatment.
Objective 2.1 Annually, provide group-based trainings and/or 1-1 consultation to 100 individuals from child-serving systems on providing trauma- and grief-informed services to forcibly displaced youth and families.
Direct Service Beneficiaries: Annually, 65 youth will receive mental health treatment and services, of which 50 will be new and 15 will be continuing service from the prior year. Over the five-year project period, a total of 250 unique youth will receive mental health treatment and services.