Statelessness, persons without citizenship under a State’s law, renders 15 million people across the globe legally invisible. Being stateless and undocumented reinforces entrenched discrimination: without citizenship rights, people are barred from free movement; working; accessing free healthcare; voting; and attending school or higher education. Statelessness perpetuates a psychological feedback loop - prompting and aggravating mental health issues, while also creating barriers to treatment. Living in protracted displacement without legal rights, the initial trauma of displacement can become overwhelmed by the daily stressors caused by food insecurity, detention and restricted movement, and ongoing violence. From Roma discrimination in Europe to Rohingya genocide in Myanmar, stateless people remain on the fringes of society exposed to widespread discrimination and persecution.



    Immigration is a political constant. In the last decade, immigration enforcement has created a looming public health crisis among undocumented immigrants who live under the perpetual threat of deportation. With more undocumented parents removed to countries they left decades before, toxic stress is rising among children left behind. Prolonged stress in minors includes poorer health, compromised brain development, and increased social and psychological challenges that can affect overall future well-being. With creeping fear and anxiety, the American social fabric is tearing at the seams as the emotional ramifications reach those left to deal with the disappeared - the classmates, doctors, labourers, and teachers now missing from the American story.



    Exiled people form particular communities of suffering around traumatised memory, identity and forced estrangement. Displacement into new lands can liberate formerly repressed expressions, opening up a diaspora of exiled thought on belonging, home and return.





    Our Statelessness and Exile research focuses on the intersection of mental health, documentation and exclusion affecting some of the most persecuted ethnic minorities and undocumented people around the world. Integrating legal frameworks on citizenship and rights, we bring to light the central role that documentation plays in social integration and access to mental health services. We give particular attention to the Rohingya whose politically-enforced statelessness has opened the door to state-driven genocide.


    We follow the stories of undocumented immigrants in America now experiencing targeted removal and shattered hopes in the American dream. We spotlight the impact on families torn apart by detention and deportation, and the organisations and communities working with them to address the growing mental health challenges that have spiraled in this moment of ethno-nationalist resurgence.


    Our research also spotlights the psychological burdens of exile and the creation of bonded resilience among a unique diaspora of people.



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