NPR

Only In Sweden: Hundreds Of Refugee Children Gave Up On Life

An article in this week's New Yorker writes about youngsters who fell into a coma-like state in reaction to the news that their family may be deported. We interview the author.
Two refugee children who show the symptoms of uppgivenhetssyndrom, or resignation syndrome. Source: Magnus Wennman for The New Yorker

The Swedish word uppgivenhepssyndrom, sounds like what it is: a syndrome in which kids have given up on life. That's what several hundred children and adolescents have done, literally checked out of the world for months or years, unable to move, eat, drink, speak or respond. All of the victims of the disorder, sometimes called resignation syndrome, have been youngsters seeking asylum after a traumatic migration, mostly from former Soviet and Yugoslav states. And all of them live in Sweden.

Rachel Aviv, a staff writer at the New Yorker, described these children in the April 3, 2017, article "The Trauma of Facing Deportation. "

The children go into these coma-like states when their families are notified that they will be deported. The only known cure is for their families to receive residency permits

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