In 2020, Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area (LSSNCA) launched its CARE (Counseling, Access, Referrals, and Education) for Newcomers program.
Through Congressionally appropriated funding, LSSNCA is contracted to provide mental health services nationally through a network of community-based partners. LSSNCA provides these services directly in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia, and provides pass-through funding, training, technical assistance, and quality assurance to partner organizations nationally.
More than 1,000 individuals received support and services locally.
Asylum-seekers (individuals who are seeking safety and cannot return to their home country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution), are not eligible for the same benefits as refugees, so LSSNCA provides core support in the following ways:
- Mental health evaluations and trauma screening
- Trauma-informed individual and family therapy
- “Know Your Rights” education sessions
- Access and support navigating community resources
Daniel, Latin America
Daniel*, a civil rights professor from Latin America, was on a business trip in the United States. While here, his wife called him to inform him their house had been ransacked and authorities were looking to arrest him for speaking out about free speech. They threatened to kill him if he returned home. To protect his family, and himself, Daniel claimed asylum in the United States. LSSNCA helped Daniel navigate the asylum process and provided mental health support.
Paul* fled Cameroon after being imprisoned and tortured by the Cameroonian military. He experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including thoughts of self-harm and taking his own life at times. Through counseling, Paul learned how to manage negative thoughts associated with memories of past trauma. With the support of LSSNCA, in less than a year after being released from detention, he gained full-time employment, established his own home, and enrolled in a local community college.