The Trump administration’s decision to end the DACA program impacts thousands of young people living in Massachusetts, along with their families and friends. That can cause serious mental stress for undocumented youth.
Dr. Mengchun Chiang, licensed psychologist and assistant professor at William James College in Boston, says the most important factor that promotes mental health is a person’s sense of hope for the future, and with Trump’s decision yesterday, many young people lost that.
Chiang says with the DACA program ending, young people who have been with living with the constant fear of deportation are uncertain about their future.
"Now many will lose hope for a legal path of citizenship, and for some it reflects a collapsing of the world and could leave them devastated,” she says.
Chiang tells WGBH’s Joe Mathieu that it’s comparable to the psychological experience of coping with the death of a loved one, but with a higher magnitude.
Chiang likens it to the five stages of grief: denial, depression, anger, negotiation, and, finally acceptance. In the case of DACA, Chiang says, young people will undergo a tremendous amount of fear and anger.
Chiang discusses ways to deal with the uncertainty, and she says the most important thing individuals can do “is to get your facts straight, learn when DACA will end, how it will impact them and perhaps seek legal counsel.”
To listen to the entire interview between Dr. Mengchun Chiang and Joe Mathieu click on the audio player above.