Press Releases | California Therapists Denounce Border Policies that Cause Life-Long Psychological Harm
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California Therapists Denounce Border Policies that Cause Life-Long Psychological Harm

Mental health experts at CAMFT appeal to the current administration to end the policy of separating children from their families immediately and to allocate more resources to reunite children and families who have been torn apart by the United States government.

For Immediate Release: August 2, 2019

San Diego, CA - The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT) is deeply disturbed by the continual maltreatment of immigrant children and immigrant families at our borders and within the United States. The seminal research study by the Center for Disease Control on Adverse Childhood Experiences* (ACE), as well as numerous subsequent ACE studies, outline the direct consequences of traumatic events on children as they grow older. Children who live through difficult and traumatic experiences, such as being suddenly and unexpectedly separated from parents or being kept in unsanitary conditions, continue to suffer through adulthood and incur much higher incidents of violent victimization, chronic disease, mental health disorder, academic struggle and economic instability.

“CAMFT first spoke on this matter over a year ago. We are dismayed that this administration has ignored psychological research and expert advice from our organization, American Psychological Association, National Association of Social Workers, and other mental health leaders that warned strongly against the practice of separating children from families and treating children and family members inhumanely. These policies continue to cause complex trauma and life-long psychological damage to children as well as parents,” says CAMFT Executive Director Nabil El-Ghoroury, PhD, CAE.

Mental health experts at CAMFT appeal to the current administration to end the policy of separating children from their families immediately and to allocate more resources to reunite children and families who have been torn apart by the United States government. “It is unconscionable and dangerous to disregard the welfare and well-being of children and their families,” says CAMFT Board President Katie Vernoy, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. “We have to stand up for human rights and to stand against oppressive actions that have the potential to deeply scar these individuals, possibly for their lifetimes.”

How to Help and Add Your Voice
CAMFT members and others who share in this concern have several avenues in which to help. Through CAMFT’s collaboration with Give an Hour, clinicians can volunteer to provide free mental health support for refugee and immigrant children and families. Letters, calls, and emails can be sent to President Donald Trump and congress members to demand emergency legislation that provides supplies, proper nutrition, and mental health supports to children and families detained at the border. Contact information for elected officials can be found here: https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials.

About the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
CAMFT is an independent professional organization representing the interests of over 32,000 Marriage and Family Therapists who are experts in diagnosing and treating mental health issues. CAMFT is dedicated to promoting mental health, advancing the MFT profession, maintaining high standards of professional ethics and expanding awareness for the profession.

* https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childabuseandneglect/acestudy/about.html