Migrant Children Separated from Parents in the US Suffer from PTSD

The government reveals the mental and emotional damage suffered by hundreds of minors

Migrant children who were separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border last year demonstrate symptoms of post-traumatic stress, which become worse during the family reunification process, according to a report from a U.S. government oversight body.

The children exhibited more symptoms of fear, abandonment and post-traumatic stress than children who were not separated from their parents, explained the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Some cried uncontrollably; others believed that their parents had abandoned them and were angry and confused. Others reported feelings of fear or guilt.

The report is the first official document from a government department on the impact of Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance”policy, which has resulted in the separation of numerous families, upon the mental health of minors. The report is based on interviews with hundreds of mental health professionals who have treated separated children.

A second report from the same organization, also released yesterday, indicated that thousands of government employees had direct access to migrant children before the completion of their background checks and collection of fingerprints.

The report covers a period last year where facilities housing migrants were overflowing. Around 2,500 children were separated from their parents.

The children were kept at the border in custody while their parents were taken to federal courts to be prosecuted.

The children who spent more than 72 hours in custody were transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services, which placed them in shelters. They remained there until they were collected by sponsors, usually parents or close relatives.

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