Liberty is committed to providing refugees with hope for a new life in Pennsylvania. Our resettlement services are designed to create a smooth transition to life in the local community and to promote economic self-sufficiency. Among the many ways we help newcomers is through the Philadelphia Refugee Mental Health Collaborative. Led by Liberty’s Lutheran Children and Family Service division, The Philadelphia Refugee Mental Health Collaborative is a group of resettlement agencies, mental health providers, physicians and arts organizations working to link refugees to culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health care.
By Peggy Fulda, Social Worker/Case Manager, Philadelphia Refugee Mental Health Collaborative
In honor of January’s Mental Health Awareness month, we thought it would be pertinent to showcase some of the important work we are doing as part of Philadelphia’s Refugee Mental Health Collaborative (PRMHC.) In many ways, mental health and wellness is the perfect frame with which to celebrate our holistic approach to community mental health work. In our work with refugee families, we work towards mental health by supporting emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, and spiritual well-being. Our work supports refugee mental health and draws on each of these dimensions.
–By Joe Harrington, Liberty Lutheran Intern
Adjusting to life in a new nation can be challenging for immigrants and refugees. That’s why the Philadelphia Refugee Mental Health Collaborative (PRMHC,) led by Liberty’s Lutheran Children and Family Service, uses therapy, support groups and arts projects to help families process past exposure to violence and current resettlement stresses. It is a lifeline for refugees who are starting over, after surviving unimaginable trauma in their home countries. An upcoming art exhibit in South Philadelphia aims to raise awareness of the lives of refugees in our community and their immigrant neighbors.
Great news for Lutheran Children and Family Service! LCFS, a service of Liberty Lutheran, is the recipient of two grants totaling $220,000 that will be used to support its programs benefiting refugees in the Greater Philadelphia area.
“These grants will be instrumental in allowing LCFS to continue provide vital programs and services to hundreds of refugee children and their families who have suffered unimaginable trauma in their home countries,” said Peter Gottemoller, Director, Child Welfare Programs, Lutheran Children and Family Service.
The small storefront on South 7th street in South Philly doesn’t look like much on the outside, but inside it’s a different story. The walls are covered in photos, paintings and drawings. The colors are bold and bright. The main room is filled with people socializing, enjoying a mild spring afternoon together. Children are laughing and playing. This is the home of the Philadelphia Refugee Mental Health Collaborative (PRMHC) – ground zero for a group of resettlement agencies, mental health providers, physicians and arts organizations that are working to link refugees to culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health care. The PRMHC is led by Liberty’s Lutheran Children and Family Service and uses therapy, support groups and arts projects to help families process past exposure to violence and current resettlement stresses. It is a lifeline for refugees who are starting over, after surviving unimaginable trauma in their home countries.
On Friday, May 3rd, dozens of families of Burmese and Bhutanese decent packed the small storefront for a modest but lively celebration. It featured many delicious dishes that are popular in the Burmese and Bhutanese cultures, as well as some classic American foods. Continue reading →
For the hundreds of refugee families arriving in Philadelphia every year, who have fled or been forced out of their homelands, resettling in the City of Brotherly Love is a challenging process. A new exhibition at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, Envisioning Home: Perspectives from Philadelphia Refugees, presents 69 photographs by Bhutanese, Burmese and Iraqi refugees that detail their everyday experiences adjusting to life in the U.S. The exhibition opened on July 13 and will be on display until August 27. Continue reading →