Title

Understanding the Plight of Refugees in Georgia

Conference Strand

Social Change, Leadership, and Advocacy

Abstract

Georgia has a growing refugee community (Division of Family and Children Services, n.d.). Successful refugee resettlement is dependent on emotional wellness. Advocating on behalf of this population, this presentation will address the state of refugees in Georgia. Information and participant discussion will address the various emotional roadblocks experienced by refugees and available resources to address these challenges.

Description

According to Georgia’s Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS), refugees are defined as individuals who are residing outside of their country of origin and are unwilling or unable to get protection from his/her homeland (The Refugee Act of 1980). This can be as a result of nationality, religion, race, political opinion, or membership in a certain social group. Migrating to the United States of America, successful resettlement is dependent on emotional and physical wellness. Some mental health issues experience by refugees are depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

This presentation will focus on the plight of refugees in Georgia. Information will be presented on Georgia’s refugee communities and resettlement program and challenges faced by refugees from Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia (specifically Burmese and Bhutanese). Presenters will also facilitate a discussion on the emotional and societal roadblocks experienced by refugees and how this affects resettlement.

Highlighted throughout this presentation is the importance for conference participants to be motivated and advocate for this population because resettlement has an effect on whether or not these immigrants will be successful at school, work, and in the community. Consequently, it is important to know and understand the challenges faced by refugees and being aware of the resources available to assist them in Georgia.

Reference

Division of Family and Children Services. (n.d.). Refugee Resettlement. Retrieved September 15, 2016, from http://dfcs.dhs.georgia.gov/refugee- resettlement

The Refugee Act of 1980.

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (n.d.). Refugee Health. Retrieved September 15, 2016, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/orr/programs/refugee-health

Evidence

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) website, in 2015 the US admitted 66,500 refugees for resettlement, making up 60% of the global total of resettled refugees. Georgia's number of resettled refugees in 2015 was 2,889 according to U.S. Department of Health & Human Service's Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Kirmayer et al. (2011) posited that initially immigrants have a lower prevalence of common mental health issues; however, this increases to become similar to the rate of the general population. Importantly, refugees who have experienced or been exposed to severe violence have high rates of trauma-related illnesses like chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder.

References

Kirmayer, J. L., Narasiah, L., Munoz, M., Rashid, M., Ryder, A. G., Guzder, J, . . . Pottie, K. (2011). Common mental health problems in immigrants and refugees: general approach in primary care. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 183(12), E959-E967.

Office of Refugee Resettlement. (n.d.). FY 2015 Served Populations by State and Country of Origin (refugees only). Retrieved September 23, 2016, from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/orr/resource/fy-2015-refugees-by-state-and-country-of-origin-all-served-populations

The UN Refugee Agency. (n.d.). Global Trends 2015. Retrieved September 23, 2016, from http://www.unhcr.org/global-trends-2015.html

Format

Panel Presentations

Biographical Sketch

Denise Lenares-Solomon, Ph.D.

Dr. Denise Lenares-Solomon is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Advanced Studies & Innovation’s Counselor Education Program at Augusta University in Augusta, Georgia. She earned a Ph.D. in Counselor Education from the University of Arkansas. A certified school counselor, she has worked as a school counselor (K-12) for 10 years in Georgia. Originally from Belize, Central America, she is a passionate advocate on bringing awareness to the dangers of gender-based violence, specifically the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC). Advocating on behalf of victims of CSEC, she has worked with school counselors in Georgia and Belize in understanding the dangers of CSEC and being able to identify resources available for victims and their families. She is also passionate about social justice and advocacy issues related to diversity.

Richard Deaner, Ph.D., LPC

Richard Deaner is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Counselor Education Program at Augusta University. Deaner earned his Ph.D. in Counselor Education from the University of South Carolina and has extensive experience as a Licensed Professional Counselor working with diverse children and families. In addition, Deaner was awarded the 2016 GA Regents' Teaching Excellence Award and is active in scholarship related to culture, assessment, and wellness.

Kate Crockett, B.S.

Kate Crockett is currently pursuing a M.Ed. in Counselor Education from Augusta University. She received a B.S. in Anthropology from Kennesaw State University. Kate has extensive experience in working the immigrant and refugee population in Georgia. After graduating, she worked as a Match Grant Assistant at Refugee Resettlement and Immigration Services of Atlanta (RRISA) and took on a second role as IDA (Individual Development Account) Coordinator. In this role, she helped clients learn about managing finances while they saved for education, housing, business expenses, or a vehicle. She believes in advocating for better mental health services for the immigrant and refugee population.

Daniel Jeng, B.A.

Daniel Jeng received a B.A. in Applied Linguistics from Georgia State University. He is currently pursuing a M.Ed. in Counselor Education from Augusta University. Mr. Jeng has been an educator and an advocate for the refugee populations in Georgia. Daniel grew up in Clarkston, the resettlement zone in Georgia, and have worked as a school liaison, employment Americorps member, and housing coordinator.

Location

Room 217

Start Date

2-17-2017 1:00 PM

End Date

2-17-2017 2:15 PM

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Feb 17th, 1:00 PM Feb 17th, 2:15 PM

Understanding the Plight of Refugees in Georgia

Room 217

Georgia has a growing refugee community (Division of Family and Children Services, n.d.). Successful refugee resettlement is dependent on emotional wellness. Advocating on behalf of this population, this presentation will address the state of refugees in Georgia. Information and participant discussion will address the various emotional roadblocks experienced by refugees and available resources to address these challenges.