The Scars Inside: An Iraqi Refugee Opens Up about PTSD

The Scars Inside: An Iraqi Refugee Opens Up about PTSD

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Editor's note: As the Iraq war ends, observers say the United States will be dealing with the legacy of that conflict for years to come.

Over the past decade, California has resettled more Middle Eastern refugees than any other state in the country. In Northern California, Santa Clara County in the South Bay is a resettlement hub for Middle Eastern refugees – more than 1,300 moved there since 2006. About one out of three of those refugees are from Iraq. And most have seen or suffered through violence related to the war.

Iraqi refugee Jasmine asked that we not use her full name for this story. After two years in the U.S., she’s been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and she’s receiving therapy for it. But Iraqi culture, like many others, often considers mental health problems shameful, and Jasmine is concerned about embarrassing her family. NAM contributor Shuka Kalantari shares Jasmine’s story.


Shuka Kalantari produced this audio documentary (the first of two parts) as a 2011 NAM Health/Environmental Health fellow, funded by the California Wellness Foundation. The documentary originally aired last month on KALW's "Crosscurrents" News program.