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Moving house is considered one of the major stressors of life—and some studies even suggest it is more stressful than divorce or having children! Not only does it involve intense time and money pressures surrounding the packing and transportation process, but moving also comes with a lot of emotional stress. As the Kentucky Counseling Center notes, “Relocation depression is a sense of overwhelming sadness that could manifest for years because of moving.” Leaving behind a familiar home and community, even for a positive opportunity, can be a loss that resonates deeply. 

Now imagine that moving is a forced relocation, due to a sudden personal crisis, financial instability, natural disaster, or even conflict. Imagine suddenly having to leave your home and community—perhaps with only a small backpack of possessions, or simply the clothes on your back—and joining the ranks of the estimated 84 million people who are refugees in the world today. What a terrifying and traumatizing experience, and yet it happens every day to people throughout the world, including 500,000 American refugees from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the more recent refugee crises affecting millions in Syria (2011–present) and hundreds of thousands in Afghanistan (2021–present).

And now we see the horrifying images in the media of hundreds of thousands of people (possibly up to four million) fleeing Ukraine and becoming refugees

Not only do refugees need immediate assistance with basic needs—food and water, shelter, clothing—but they also need mental health care. The World Health Organization notes that the forced displacement of refugees greatly affects their mental health, leading to depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). So what can we do to help?

The International Rescue Committee is a long-standing organization, founded in 1933 in response to a call for humanitarianism issued by Albert Einstein, that is dedicated to helping people survive, recover, and rebuild their lives. The IRC is the largest refugee resettlement agency in the US, and helps people all over the world with access to health care, food and clean water, education for children, and the support needed to have hope for better days ahead.

The IRC takes monetary donations for its general fund as well as for specific crises, like Ukraine and Afghanistan. With a “give with confidence” rating from Charity Navigator, you can be assured that your donation will go to help those in need! 

Thank you, International Rescue Committee, for making the world a better place!