This guide was written by a group of mental health providers and scholars who identify as immigrants, who are current DACA recipients or formerly undocumented, and who have experience working with DACA recipients through clinical work, community organizing, and academic research. The development of this guide was supported by organizations that advocate for humane immigration policy and provide services to immigrant communities (FWD.us and Immigrants Rising). We recognize that the availability of education and training on immigrant mental health is limited.
- Germán A. Cadenas, PhD, Lehigh University College of Education
Liliana Campos, MS, Immigrants Rising and University of San Francisco
Laura P. Minero, MA, UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior
Cheryl Aguilar, LICSW, LCSW-C, Hope Center for Wellness
Why is this Guide Needed?
This guide serves to begin to close that gap. It provides mental health providers who wish to work with DACA recipients, or who are currently providing services to them, with introductory content to develop competencies to work with this community. The guide was reviewed by a group of current DACA recipients who are leaders in immigrant rights, and who provided feedback on the guides’ contents.
Together, we acknowledge that the immigration status of those who are temporarily protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program represents a social determinant of health. The temporary and limiting nature of the status poses significant constraints such as lack of access to opportunities, inability to plan for the future, and constant preoccupation with sociopolitical stressors.
Furthermore, environmental stressors such as systemic oppression, xenophobic policy changes, past and current trauma, family separations or fear of family separations, uncertainty about the future, may lead to heightened mental health distress and concerns.