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Mental Health America of Wisconsin Condemns Border Atrocities

Mental Health America of Wisconsin is horrified by the actions being taken by our government to separate young children from their parents at our southern border. As a mental health advocacy organization, we recognize that these children and families were already subjected to major trauma when they arrived at our border. They often experienced violence we can only imagine in their towns and villages. They were subjected to the daily trauma of making their way north along unsafe roads and pathways to reach the safety of our border. Now, we are subjecting them to another horror. We are tearing families apart when they arrive.

We know that traumatic events can have a lasting impact, especially on developing brains. MHA-WI is dedicated to improving the mental health of all individuals. The current situation at the border where children are being separated from their family member or designated caregiver is a traumatic event. It is important to understand how the brain responds to trauma. All experiences alter the brain, good or bad. It is increasingly clear that experience in childhood has relatively more impact on the developing child than experiences later in life.

Credible reports have surfaced that the conditions to which we are subjecting these children and families are both cruel and inhumane. The few videos we have seen support this conclusion. Some administration officials have made false claims that they have been forced to treat children this way. This is dishonest. It distorts reality. This cruelty has a profound effect on the mental health of children and their families. Repetitive trauma does short- and long-term damage.

The order stopping the policy of separating children and families at the border is only the first step and elected officials cannot claim to be sympathetic to the mental health needs of any population if they don’t take action to fully correct this situation, and acknowledge the harm being done to thousands of children every moment they are separated from their family. Both parties need to step up – now – and fight for the principles on which our country was reaffirmed by President Lincoln – that we act with malice toward none and charity toward all.

Martina Gollin-Graves, President and CEO
Mental Health America of Wisconsin
 



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