Study: PTSD, anxiety result of family separation at border


DALLAS (NewsNation Now) — A new study on the forcible separations that took place at the U.S.-Mexico border suggests parents and their children who were split up are suffering from mental health disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression. 

It’s believed that there are still more than 1,800 children who need to be reunited with their parents. Many of them were never given a phone number or an address where they could be contacted later. 

The study, created by Physicians for Human Rights, looked at the long-term mental health problems in some of the 5,400 children separated from their parents in 2017 and 2018. 

Of the 31 medical evaluations, 12 were of children who were separated. Every child showed some combination of PTSD, anxiety and depression. Kathryn Hampton, deputy direct at PHR and co-author of the study, said the most shocking thing is the fear of separation continues in many of the kids.

“… Children having nightmares, being terrified of being separated from their parents, even after they’ve been reunified, even one year later, two years later,” she said. “I think any person would just have a deep conviction that this is not right. We need to keep this from happening ever again.”

According to the study, as many as 1,800 children have not yet been reunited with their parents — mostly because the parents were deported and have not been able to return to the U.S. 

To this day, families continue to be separated when parents are arrested at the border.

Amrutha Jindal, chief defender attorney with the Houston-based nonprofit Restoring Justice, said so many people have been arrested by Texas state troopers that it’s taking months for them to get a court appearance.

Jindal also said there isn’t enough infrastructure in place in some of the smaller border communities to handle the influx of migrants.

“The separation from the family coupled with the chaotic system that this particular operation has existed under is really compounding the stress that my clients and their loved ones are experiencing,” Jindal said.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is moving closer to building a border wall that he has wanted for Texas. The state’s General Land Office has secured a lease with the Texas Department of Public Safety that will allow for it to be built.

It is one part of the governor’s emergency declaration as extraordinary numbers of migrants continue to come.

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