Migrants get free counseling sessions at Juarez shelters


Chihuahua health officials add psychological services to health screenings

Migrants from El Salvador and Cuba relax on their beds at the Albergue Para Migrantes El Buen Samaritano as they wait to have their number on a waiting list that is months long to be called to have an initial interview with an United States asylum officer on June 05, 2019 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) — Authorities say they’re providing free counseling to migrants staying in Juarez shelters.

The psychological services are offered by personnel from the State of Chihuahua’s Health Department during health screenings of migrants, the agency said. The migrants, many from Central America, have traveled up to 2,000 miles from their homes and remain mostly isolated in shelters, churches and apartments they rent after pooling resources with fellow travelers.

Human rights groups and immigrant advocates repeatedly have pointed out the stress placed upon the migrants by dangerous travel conditions, crime in Mexico and the uncertainty brought on by long waits in the asylum process they came to pursue in the United States.

“Since the beginning of the migrant surge, the Health Department has tried to provide health services for them, including psychological therapy sessions at the various shelters,” said Linda Sepulveda, a spokeswoman for the Health Department.

Group counseling sessions include activities that allow the migrants to express their feelings, Sepulveda said. Should the therapists detect emotional issues, the migrant is offered a referral to a government clinic.

So far, 120 migrants have participated in group counseling session, which the Health Department refers to as “magic circle.” Most of the participants through July 31 have been adult males (50), though 48 have been women and 22 children. The migrants participating in the group therapy sessions have been from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Cuba, Congo and Cameroon, the Health Department said.

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