Refugees Left Their Souls in Bhutan

Many Bhutanese refugees in the US suffer from a mysterious mental health disorder.

More than 100 older Bhutanese refugees in the Pittsburgh area are afflicted with the form of depression that falls outside typical diagnoses—and typical treatments don’t work. Psychologist Ken Thompson said it progress from physical aches and pains, to struggling to do everyday tasks or interact with anyone at all. The locals say it’s like people “left their soul in Bhutan.”

One thing that they respond to: reconnecting them to their home country. “The thing that gets them to light up sometimes is when you ask them about how many cows they had in Bhutan,” Thompson said.

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