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Understanding Why Immigrant Bereavement Support Exists And How You Can Help

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It does not matter where you come from, what religion you are, or what language you speak. Everyone mourns the loss of a friend or a family member. While most everyone living in their own countries are able to mourn in their own countries, it is an entirely different situation when you are an immigrant to the U.S.

The immigrants who come here are trying to escape the horrors of war, or they are trying to find a better life where they can make money and send it home to the family they have left behind. When one of those family members dies before they can ever save up enough money to come here, it is extremely hard on the immigrant family member who came here ahead of the person who died in the immigrant's absence. Moreover, it is extremely difficult for anyone who is trying to become a naturalized citizen. In all of these examples, these people cannot return home to mourn. Immigrant bereavement support exists for all of the following reasons. You can help.

Imagine Knowing That Someone You Love Died, but You Can Never Say Goodbye

Part of the grieving process is the burial rights where you are able to say some final words to the deceased. For immigrants that cannot go back because they have been granted asylum, this is an incredibly painful time. It is equally painful for those that are required to remain in the U.S. for the two years it takes to become a naturalized citizen. They cannot go home to say goodbye, comfort family, or grieve. Immigrant bereavement support is granted to these individuals so that they can find their way through the grief process and not get emotionally stuck. 

Helping Immigrants Grieve Helps Them at a Crucial Emotional and Psychological Time

If support were not provided to grieving immigrants, can you imagine what would happen? Depression, anger, anxiety, fear, and violent actions are the result of anyone who has no support during this critical time. If they turn those emotions inward, they could commit suicide. If they turn them outward, multiple acts of violence to varying degrees are possible, which would result in their deportation. Helping them grieve helps them become good citizens. 

How You Can Help

You do not need a degree in psychology to help. (Although, if you do have a degree in psychology, these support groups definitely want your help.) You really only need a good listening ear, cultural sensitivity and respect, and a willingness to comfort those who need it. Additionally, if you can speak any foreign languages, you can double as an interpreter and as one who brings comfort to others.