VoiceAmerica’s International Crossroads
Partnerships for Trauma Recovery cofounders Monika Parikh and Annika Sridharan, MSW, Psy.D sat down with the hosts of the internationally syndicated radio show Wagner and Winnick on the Law to discuss the plight of international human rights survivors and the global mental health gap.
In the interview, Parikh, PTR’s executive director, explained that although refugees, asylees, asylum seekers, and victims of human trafficking are “some of the most traumatized populations in the world,” there is a significant lack of mental health services available to help them recover from past trauma, and the repercussions from this lack of services can be exponential when they’re trying to build a new life: “To be able to learn a new language, obtain a job, hold a job—basically to be able to integrate and move forward with their lives—can be extremely challenging when on top of it they’re suffering from the extreme trauma of the experiences they’ve had.”
It is from this critical identified need that PTR was founded.
Recovering from the immense trauma that PTR’s clients have experienced is incredibly challenging. However, Sridharan describes the first step in healing: “One of the most important things is helping develop trust with the person because people have gone through so much abuse and betrayal by other human beings that really being able to be present, be trustworthy and reliable for the person and be interested and also able to tolerate their stories allows them to begin feeling trusting and feel like they can rely on you and open up and start telling about what’s happened.”
In addition to describing PTR’s mental health program, Parikh and Sridharan discussed PTR’s strategy for multiplying impact through one of few clinical training programs in the nation with an international trauma specialization, as well as policy advocacy based on the clinicians’ knowledge of the reality of refugee and asylee experiences. As stated by Parikh, “This deep work that Annika and the other clinicians do is really incredibly valuable for understanding trauma and the impacts of trauma and what it takes to recover from trauma, so what we want to do at Partnerships for Trauma Recovery is to take what we know outside of the therapy room into policy.”