Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Thomas Lobe


refugees, politics, resettlement, mental health, trauma, displacement, immigration, non-profits


Refugee populations are exposed to an unusually high number of traumatic events in their lifetimes that have the potential to cause long-lasting psychological harm. Millions of people are forcibly displaced by international conflicts, ethnic genocide, targeting of political dissidents, climate disasters, and countless other traumatic events. For the small fraction of refugees who are resettled in wealthy nations such as the United States, they are fortunate to leave behind the harmful and often violent places which they are fleeing from, but they are also leaving behind their families, friends, homes, and traditions. During and following resettlement, refugees continue to face potentially traumatic experiences and are offered minimal resources to assist with coping or access clinical interventions. The goals of the U.S. resettlement system are to provide protection for these vulnerable populations and to enable integration into America’s society and economy. These goals are—by some accounts—achieved, but services to refugees reflect an understanding that social services, including medical and mental health assistance, are a low priority. While the Unites States seeks to re-evaluate the social obligations of the government and we grapple with the toxicity of immigration and humanitarian responsibility, now is the moment to address the shortcomings in services to refugees and how addressing trauma can benefit refugees and America.