April 15, 2024

Event Coverage Highlight

Afghan Refugees: Trauma, Health and Resettlement

A group of Afghan refugees leaving Serbia in October 2015. Photo: Procyk Radek, via Shutterstock

The New York State Health Foundation is hosting a panel discussion via Zoom with Sebastian Junger, journalist, author and filmmaker; Molly Carr, executive director, Jewish Family Services of Western New York; and Derek Coy, New York State Health’s veterans health officer, about the resettlement of Afghan evacuees, trauma and its lingering effects, their need for health and mental health services.

OPC member Brian Byrd, senior program officer for the New York State Health Foundation, will moderate.

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In August 2021, U.S. armed forces completed their withdrawal from Afghanistan to officially end the war, leaving behind a humanitarian crisis. More than 120,000 Afghans have fled the country and a total of 75,000 Afghan evacuees are expected to arrive in the United States—with 1,300 expected to be resettled in New York State.

Years of war and conflict take an enormous toll on an individual’s physical and mental health. According to the International Red Cross, people living in conflict-affected areas are three times more likely to experience mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Providing Afghan refugees the health and mental health services they need as part of their resettlement will be a massive and complex undertaking. Resettlement agencies must now simultaneously rebuild their organizational capacity after years of disinvestment, navigate complex bureaucratic systems, and deliver crucial services to incoming refugees.

The 60-minute event will feature a panel discussion followed by audience Q&A.