150. Immigrant and Refugee Mental Health with Sandra Mattar

Over 40 million US residents are foreign-born. Immigrants and refugees face many circumstances impacting their mental health. These include the trauma of the immigration process and the acculturation process that follows. Additionally, many face systemic oppression and the threat of deportation. These challenges are complex and multifaceted. Therefore, therapy and psychology need to do a better job at orienting toward contextual and systemic factors in mental health treatment. 

Join Diana for this inspiring conversation with Dr. Sandra Mattar, Assistant Professor at the Boston University School of Medicine and leading expert on immigrant and refugee mental health. Dr. Mattar speaks of her experience as an immigrant to the US. Additionally, she talks about the impact of trauma and health disparities in the populations she serves. Dr. Mattar also discusses how to provide compassionate, culturally sensitive treatment to support these members of our community to heal and thrive.

Immigrant mental health is American mental health. As the Informed Immigrant states: “You deserve to feel safe and empowered, no matter your immigration status.”

Listen and Learn

  • The individual and systemic challenges impacting immigrant and refugee mental health 
  • How the recent Supreme Court decisions on DACA and refugee asylum impact immigrant and refugee mental health
  • Ways to shift from an individualistic therapy approach to one prioritizing contextual factors 
  • How mental health treatment with immigrants and refugees is adapting to COVID-19 
  • Ethnocentric ways to address the ongoing trauma that immigrant communities face
  • How to practice self-care and self-compassion while taking values-based action as a therapist 

About Dr. Sandra Mattar

Dr. Sandra Mattar

Dr. Sandra Mattar is a clinical psychologist and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine and the Boston Medical Center Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights. Her research and clinical interests include culturally informed trauma treatment, immigrants and refugee mental health, mental health disparities, multicultural psychology, and mindfulness and spirituality. 

Dr. Mattar is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Psychological Trauma and a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) Race and Ethnicity Guidelines Task Force. Dr. She was also a founding member of the Division 56 (Trauma Psychology) of the APA and a Past Chair of the Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs of APA. Dr. Mattar is a graduate of the William James College (formerly MSPP) and the Universidad Católica Andres Bello in Venezuela. An immigrant herself, Dr. Mattar was born and raised in Venezuela.  


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Episode 150