Marginalized Children and Mental Health

Hatred Xenophobia Racism

Growing up is tough, no matter who you are. But for children who are marginalized – those who are refugees, immigrants, undocumented, LGBTQ, or in a religious/racial minority – life stressors have become even more onerous due, in part, to recent political developments. According to a joint report from the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and the Illinois Childhood Trauma Coalition, there is evidence that bullying is on the rise, as some students have interpreted current political rhetoric as permission to mistreat students of color and minority status.  Fear of deportation and separation from family trigger feelings of hopelessness and helplessness in refugee and immigrant children.  And LGBTQ youth fear loss of civil rights and social acceptance.

College and community counseling centers are overwhelmed with requests for service, and schools around the country are reporting episodes of hate speech and racist vandalism.  Whether a child is part of marginalized group, or simply trying to understand a volatile environment, caring adults need to be the first line of defense in interpreting disturbing activities and allying fears for our youth. 

Click here to read Lurie’s Post-Election Mental Health Support for Youth, and here to access valuable resources for children and their families, including links to human and civil rights organizations.  Spanish versions of these documents can be found here and here.