Mexico’s Border Mental Health Problems
The US-Mexico border is facing a mental health crisis. A report by the US-Mexico Border Health Commission (COMVID-19) states that a growing number of migrants, both legal and illegal, are suffering from serious psychological and emotional problems. Other cities near the border are also being hit by violence.
US-Mexico Border Health Commission
Many immigrants in the United States are experiencing physical and mental health challenges. These issues are compounded by the difficulties they face when crossing the border. Immigrants are often traumatized, sexually assaulted, and face discrimination, extortion, and abuse.
The border region’s public health crisis is escalating. Many migrants are suffering from chronic diseases and inadequate health services. This has led to deaths. Those who are in need of medical treatment are often turned away, and others are sent to the congregate care centers, where respiratory illnesses and skin conditions are common.
According to the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission, more than half of the counties in the border region are designated as Health Professional Shortage Areas. They are also home to a significant population of uninsured and noncitizen residents.
Several organizations, including the U.S. Department of State, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, have implemented training to better detect and treat addictions. They also developed a national network on drug information with Mexico.
Despite the presence of a variety of organizations working on the border, many healthcare professionals are scarce. There are only a handful of psychiatrists who specialize in treating migrants in Mexico. A psychologist who works with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Nora Valdivia, says that the migration policies are exacerbating health issues among migrants.
In addition to the mental health issues that migrants face, many of them have been victims of violence before arriving. Many are traumatized, which leads to anxiety, depression, and physical symptoms.
A multidisciplinary panel of experts will gather at the Harvard Global Health Institute to discuss health issues and how policy can better protect the health of migrants. This event is a partnership between the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies and the Harvard University Mexican Association of Students.