Health and Healing for Cambodian Survivors
California is home to the largest population of Cambodians in the United States. According to the U.S. Census, approximately 6,700 live in Fresno, making it the fifth largest concentration in the state. Most Cambodians who first arrived in the country came as refugees in the 1980s. They were escaping the horrors of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime, which orchestrated a genocide that killed at least two million people between 1975 to 1979.
Forty years after resettlement, this community is still grappling with the aftermath. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, 62 percent of those who had lived through the regime suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and 51 percent face depression.
Many survivors are still in need of mental health treatment, but often face language and cultural barriers to access it. This series explores the mental health care options available to Cambodian survivors today and the role community plays in the healing process.
KVPR’s Soreath Hok reported this story while participating in the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism’s 2022 California Fellowship.
A new series by KVPR reporter Soreath Hok explores the stories of Cambodian refugees who are still grappling with the trauma of war, decades after surviving a genocide that killed at least two million people in the 1970s.
Many Cambodians who survived the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s are now growing older here in California with painful memories of violence and trauma. Many survivors have never sought treatment at all.
For those who survived the trauma of the Khmer Rouge genocide, mental health treatment remains a dire need. We take a look at one program in Oakland that’s succeeding in reaching Cambodians at risk in this refugee community.
We’ve been telling you the story of one family of Cambodian refugees in Fresno who survived the trauma of the Khmer Rouge genocide. Here, we dig deeper into their past to show how they’ve rebuilt their lives decades after resettling in the U.S.
Although Fresno has one of the largest Cambodian populations in California, it doesn’t yet have a dedicated mental health program to help survivors of that country’s 1970s genocide deal with the lasting trauma. But the city’s vibrant Khmer community has found its own unique way to heal.