Supporting the Emotional Well-being of Afghan Newcomers

Afghan newcomers have often experienced significant traumatic experiences, including exposure to violence, sudden evacuation, and separation from loved ones who may be in danger. They also face significant pressures and stress in meeting basic needs and adjusting to life in the U.S., which can negatively impact emotional health and well-being. Service providers may struggle to talk to Afghan newcomers about these challenges and connect them to support. 

In this webinar, participants will gain insight into the mental health risks and access barriers faced by Afghan newcomers. We will explore culturally sensitive and linguistically accessible resources designed to support this community, providing practical guidance on how service providers can utilize these resources in their work. Additionally, attendees will hear firsthand from service providers about their experiences using these resources with clients.

Key Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the mental health risks and access barriers specific to Afghan newcomers.
  2. Discover linguistically accessible and culturally responsive resources for supporting Afghan newcomers.
  3. Learn where to find these resources and how to incorporate them into client interactions effectively.
  4. Gain insights from service providers on successful implementation strategies and best practices.

Join us to learn more about how your organization can strive to support the emotional well-being of Afghan newcomers better and ensure they receive the care and resources they deserve.

Beth Farmer Headshot Circle

Elizabeth (Beth) Farmer, LCSW, International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Beth Farmer is a licensed clinical social worker with more than 15 years of experience working with refugees and asylum seekers experiencing mental health concerns, including as a therapist and as a clinical director of a mental health program for forcibly displaced people. Beth led the effort to develop the first mental health screening tool for resettling refugees. She is currently the Senior Director of the Safety, Health & Education Technical Unit at the International Rescue Committee.


Rabia Jalalzai, MD, MPH, International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Rabia earned a medical degree and developed a passion for research. She worked on clinical studies for HIV prevention and treatment, and her team discovered long-acting cabotegravir for HIV prophylaxis. She later earned a Master of Public Health degree and collaborated on numerous research projects with Johns Hopkins University researchers. She currently works as an Evidence-Based Practice Officer at IRC. She is deeply committed to the rights of immigrant and refugee groups and enjoys swimming, exploring coffee shops, and reading and writing poetry in her spare time.


Malalai Safi, International Rescue Committee (Sacramento)

Malalai Safi is a highly dedicated senior community wellness specialist with an extensive track record of over three years at the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Holding a Master's degree in Public Policy and Administration, she brings a profound comprehension of policy frameworks to her current position, which is centered on championing the mental health and overall well-being of immigrant communities within Sacramento. Throughout her tenure at IRC, Malalai has consistently showcased an unwavering commitment to serving immigrants and refugees by facilitating access to vital services and support networks. Leveraging her expertise as a mental health specialist, she has played a pivotal role in fostering resilience and advancing comprehensive wellness initiatives among vulnerable populations. Malalai's contributions have had a transformative effect on the lives of immigrants and refugees in Sacramento, perfectly encapsulating IRC's overarching mission of providing aid and empowerment to those in need. Through her empathetic advocacy and collaborative endeavors, Malalai continues to enact tangible and positive changes in the well-being of immigrant communities, embodying a profound dedication to humanitarian service and the pursuit of social justice.


Yassaman “Yasi” Vedad, International Rescue Committee (Sacramento)

Yassaman “Yasi” Vedad is an esteemed advocate for community wellness and mental health with a wealth of experience and expertise. Holding a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Graphic Design from Azad University of Tehran and certification in architectural studies from Bombay University, Yasi brings a distinctive combination of creativity and proficiency to her current position as a Community Wellness Specialist at the International Rescue Committee (IRC). With a career spanning over two decades, Yasi has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to education, teaching students of diverse ages in Iran. Beyond her professional endeavors, she generously volunteers her time to support children battling cancer, showcasing her dedication to service and compassion. Yasi's passion for exploring diverse cultures and landscapes enriches her personal life. It is a source of inspiration, deepening her understanding of the world and informing her creative approach to her work. Throughout her endeavors, Yasi exemplifies compassion, resilience, and a steadfast dedication to effecting positive change within the vulnerable populations IRC serves.

Syreeta Wilkins

Syreeta Wilkins, NRC-RIM

Syreeta is the communications strategist for the National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants and Migrants (NRC-RIM), where she manages the communications efforts for the center and leads the creation and dissemination of health communications materials.

She has more than a decade of experience in strategic communications, specializing in internal communications, digital media, and diverse and multilingual communities. Before joining the team at NRC-RIM, she led communications for K-12 public schools.

Syreeta is currently pursuing a Master's in Public Health at the University of Minnesota, where she focuses on global and immigrant health. She holds a master’s degree in linguistics from New York University, where she explored socioeconomic influences on Spanish-speaking immigrants' speech patterns. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Macalester College.

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Jonas Attilus, MD, MPH 

Jonas Attilus (He/Him) was born and raised in Haiti. His family moved to Mexico as refugees where he eventually graduated medical school from UNAM, Mexico. His studies have taken him to Universite Lille 2, France, as well as Rutgers University, USA. He volunteered at a refugee camp in Greece in 2019. He travels once or twice a year in Mexico to provide mental health support to migrants and refugees. He is currently working on a research project focusing on Somali American mental health in Minnesota.

D. Attilus is a psychiatry resident at the University of Minnesota and an American Psychiatry Association public psychiatry fellow. He is also a co-host for the social Medicine On Air Podcast. He uses his experience in social medicine and public health to question and address the root causes of health inequities locally and globally. His areas of interest are public health, community psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, and global mental health.