At Risk: Integrating Mental Health, Law and Advocacy to Improve the Well-Being of Vulnerable Immigrant Populations
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Expires on Jul 31, 2025
Credit Offered
1.25 CME Credits
1.25 COP Credits

Available: 06/30/2022 - 07/31/2025


There is no cost to participate in this activity or to earn CME credit. APA is making this activity available to its members as a benefit of APA membership. For ABPN diplomates, access to this program was supported through funding from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN).

40 million immigrants and 35 million children whose parents are foreign-born currently live in the United States. Within this group, 11.4 million are undocumented immigrants; two-thirds of this population comes from Latin America. Currently, there is an increasing focus on deterring undocumented immigrants with strategies such as increases in ICE raids, stringent asylum seekers determination procedures, increased detention/deportation of people with no significant criminal records, and the creation of a hostile environment for immigrants coming from countries escaping from danger or hoping to have a better life. Specifically, the Zero Tolerance policy, which called for the prosecution of all individuals illegally entering the USA, resulted in the significant psychological distress, detainment, and separation of thousands of families. As a human right, compassionate, competent, and trauma-informed mental health services should be provided when immigrants first arrive in the host country and easily available during the post-migration period in this country. Undocumented adults and children undergo stressors across the various stages of the migration process: pre-migration (trauma in country of origin), in-transit trauma (including violence, trafficking, environmental hazards, abandonment) as well as trauma after migration (limited resources, interpersonal conflicts, acculturative stress, limited resources, fear of deportation, and discrimination). As a result, undocumented immigrants have a higher risk of depression, PTSD, and substance use. Forced removal and fear of deportation is linked to externalizing and internalizing problems among youth, low levels of family cohesion, and long-term behavioral changes. We must utilize strategies that improve the assessment of the population (Cultural formulation interview, Ecosystemic approach, etc.) and provide treatment that incorporates trauma-informed care, community building, and close collaboration with legal groups and other organizations.We will show brief videos of clinical interviews that illustrate the traumatic impact of the fear of deportation and family separation can be for the population including the children and adolescents who worry about being separated from parents.

Learning Objectives

  • Review the changing landscape of US immigration policy, including the border, family separations, asylum procedures, etc.
  • Recognize the impact of specific stressors faced during the migration and post-migration process in mental health and how the familial system can be negatively impacted by forced separations
  • Discuss clinical case studies involving undocumented immigrant families and be able to demonstrate culturally, structurally, individually, and trauma-informed techniques.
  • Analyze the impact of the Covid19Pandemia in different immigration policies affecting different immigrant populations.
  • Provide tools that can facilitate collaboration of psychiatrists with other disciplines for improving the quality of care of this population

Target Audience

Psychiatrists, Residents/Fellows

Estimated Time to Complete

Estimated Duration: 90 minutes
Begin Date: June 30, 2022
End Date: July 31, 2025

How to Earn Credit

Participants who wish to earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credit ™ or a certificate of participation may do so by completing all sections of the course including the evaluation. After evaluating the program, course participants will be provided with an opportunity to claim hours of participation and print an official CME certificate (physicians) or certificate of participation (non-physicians) showing the completion date and hours earned. 

Continuing Education Credit

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians. 

The APA designates this enduring CME activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Faculty and Planner Disclosures

Program Presenters

  • Pamela Montano. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Giselle Plata. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Gabrielle Shapiro. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Brenda Punsky. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Ateaya Lima. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.

Program Planners

  • Katie Putnam, Membership Development Specialist, American Psychiatric Association. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.
  • Ally Brown, Associate Director, Online Learning, American Psychiatric Association. Reports no financial relationships with commercial interests.

Accessibility for Participants with Disabilities

The American Psychiatric Association is committed to ensuring accessibility of its website to people with disabilities. If you have trouble accessing any of APA’s online resources, please contact us at 202-559-3900 for assistance.

Technical Requirements

This internet-based CME activity is best experienced using any of the following:

  • The latest and 2nd latest public versions of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari
  • Internet Explorer 11+

This Web site requires that JavaScript and session cookies be enabled. Certain activities may require additional software to view multimedia, presentation, or printable versions of the content. These activities will be marked as such and will provide links to the required software. That software may be: Adobe Acrobat Reader, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Windows Media Player.

Optimal System Configuration:

  • Browser: Google Chrome (latest and 2nd latest version), Safari (latest and 2nd latest version), Internet Explorer 11.0+, Firefox (latest and 2nd latest version), or Microsoft Edge (latest and 2nd latest version)
  • Operating System: Windows versions 8.1+, Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) +, Android (latest and 2nd latest version), or iOS/iPad OS (latest and 2nd latest version)
  • Internet Connection: 1 Mbps or higher

Minimum Requirements:

  • Windows PC: Windows 8.1 or higher; 1 GB (for 32-bit)/2 GB (for 64-bit) or higher RAM; Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content
  • Macintosh: Mac OS X 10.5 or higher with latest updates installed; Intel, PowerPC G5, or PowerPC G4 (867MHz or faster) processor; 512 MB or higher RAM; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content

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