Deportee Mental Health in Tijuana: Social Support Models as the Solution

Sara Lucero

Deportation is a highly traumatic and isolating event that has been shown to have severely detrimental effects on mental and emotional health. Unfortunately, mental health resources are in short supply and high demand globally. Tijuana is no exception. The mental health need in Tijuana is compounded by the sheer amount of deportees they accept, about 30% of all US deportees, most of which are at-risk and struggle with coming to terms with their new reality, often being forcibly ripped from their lives in the US. To address this need, I demonstrate that interventions that emphasize social support are more effective and have a greater impact on improving mental health than traditional psychiatric approaches. Additionally, I analyze three categories of social support models: community engagement, peer support groups, and individual social skills training. From each I address and review the strengths and shortcomings of each type of social support model and reframe it in the context of deportee mental health in Tijuana. Ultimately, this analysis will start a discourse around how social support models are the solution for mental health care in low resource communities like Tijuana and spotlight the specific mental health needs deportees have and how to meet them.


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