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Mental Health Branch

With severe physical injuries and psychological trauma, necessary care for migrants extends beyond immediate hospital visits. Welfare and healthcare systems in many countries, however, fail to protect and provide for migrant populations, and undocumented migrants are often excluded from non-governmental support as well.

 

Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected migrants and their mental health. In a 2020 WHO study of 30,000+ refugees and migrants from around the world, more than half of those surveyed reported increased levels of depression, fear, anxiety, and loneliness due to the pandemic. Travel restrictions have left many feeling even more isolated from their friends and family.

 

ASSIST provides comprehensive mental health care to migrants through two avenues. First, we connect migrants to mental health professionals via telehealth. Our partner psychiatry/psychology clinics in South Korea — Hi MAP Clinic and Gong Gam Dong Clinic — have agreed to provide mental health care at reduced costs. Second, we provide online support groups led by migrants who are EAP-certified counselors. Through these support groups, we create a safe space for migrants to connect with others who have similar cultural backgrounds, experiences, and languages. Our partnership with an EAP training and certification center in Seoul allows us to offer professional training to migrants who wish to become counselors.

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Identify Population with Needs

We receive online requests for mental health care from migrants. We also reach out to migrants we know to be in particularly stressful situations to offer our support.

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Connect to Professional Clinics

We direct migrants to psychologists at partner clinics for treatment. We cover all costs for consultations and medication, and we also provide translation services when necessary.

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Connect to EAP Counselors

We connect them to online support groups led by migrants who are EAP-certified counselors. Our current cohort of counselors speak 7+ languages and come from 8+ different countries.

A Brief Overview

36

Nepalese workers in Korea committed suicide between 2007 and 2017

60%

of migrant workers in Korea said they have experienced discrimination here

81%

of married migrant women in Korea who have experienced domestic violence are victims of verbal abuse

14%

of migrant workers in Korea said the lack of a consultation service was the #1 area in which they face difficulties