National League of NursingNational League of Nursing

The Voice of Nursing Education

Pediatric Mental Health Stressors Related to Migration



Nurses in Western society have been caring for migrant families through the ages. Migrant children have a particularly challenging journey when traveling to a foreign land. They are often linked to a lower socioeconomic class and are at risk for acute disease and mental health stressors following a long journey. These physical and mental stressors are often present with the initial health assessment intake and are directly related to the difficult journey, malnutrition, dehydration, lack of clothing and shelter, and familial stress and/or separation from loved ones. Misinterpretation and misunderstandings occur as the journey ends at the border with language and cultural barriers. Overcrowded conditions, unfamiliar foods and sleeping arrangements, and isolation contribute to the anxiety and depression often seen in migrant children. Nurses are uniquely equipped to provide culturally sensitive care and communication to alleviate some of the stress when entering a new country.

Pediatric Mental Health Stressors Related to Migration