Competency through Collaboration: A Focus on the Mental Health Needs of Immigrant and Refugee Families

Competency through Collaboration: A Focus on the Mental Health Needs of Immigrant and Refugee Families

Nearly 200 Lehigh undergraduate and graduate students, school professionals, and community members joined us on March 5th on the campus of Lehigh University to learn more about the experiences and mental health needs of immigrant and refugee children in our community.  

The event featured a keynote address by Joanne Gottessman, J.D.  Professor Gottesman is a clinical professor and Director of the Immigrant Justice Clinic at Rutgers University, and will speak about the legal and procedural challenges which many immigrants and refugees encounter.  Panel presentations by school and community-based professionals and an interactive discussion followed.  Attendees came together to learn and discuss ways to empower immigrant and refugee families and build resilience.  

The Lehigh Valley is home to a large number of immigrant families. In cities such as Allentown, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that as much as 14.5% of the population is foreign-born - more than twice the Pennsylvania average. The community is also currently home to a number of refugee families from countries such as Burma, Eritrea, Sudan, and Iraq.  The U.S. Department of State reports that in Fiscal Year 2016, over 10,000 refugees from Syria are expected to be admitted into the United States, leading to a new wave of refugee families who have already begun to migrate to the Lehigh Valley. Please join us on Saturday, March 5th at Lehigh University to learn about the experiences and mental health needs of immigrant and refugee children in our community.

Discussion topics included: 

  • Understanding immigrant and refugee families’ experiences in navigating legal and procedural challenges
  • Addressing the behavioral and mental health needs of immigrant and refugee children in schools
  • Providing community-based services for children and families who have arrived in the Lehigh Valley from other countries

These resources will provide an introduction to school psychology and graduate training in this field: 

  • National Association of School Psychologists
  • American Psychological Association (Division 16, Division 12, Division 45, Division 54)
  • American Psychological Association of Graduate Students
  • Student Affiliates of School Psychology
  • Council for Exceptional Children

Quetisons: Email us >>LehighCTC16@gmail.com

Organized by the College of Education School Psychology Club with funding from the Office of Student Affairs and Diversity Committee