Bilal Nasier fled the Afghan Civil War with his family aged four, travelling for three months to come to Aotearoa. He now dedicates his life to supporting young people in New Zealand navigate their own trauma.

“As I got older I was exposed to more and more of [my] story. It started off with, 'yes son, we have come from Afghanistan, but we’re here now, look at our life!'”

“But then it was, this is why we had to leave, or this is what happened, or we had a rocket-propelled grenade enter our house and almost explode while we were all sitting there. You can't say that to a 4-year-old child, because for them to be able to deal with that emotionally, to be able to understand the implications of that is just so severe.”

“Looking back now in hindsight I respect them for their decision, because at the core of it, they were trying to protect us. For them to retell me this story of how they had to risk their lives day in and day out, that takes a toll on them too.”

Our stories are never just our own. This is particularly true for first- and second-generation Kiwis who unwittingly carry traumas of the past.  In this episode Guled Mire chats with PhD candidate and former refugee Bilal Nasier about managing unimaginable traumas, and the lingering pain of being forced to leave your tūrangawaewae. We also hear from young migrant and former refugee health professionals on the frontline, Dr Samira Hassan and Dr Angela Lim, on whether we are doing enough to help third culture kids manage mental health and tackle past traumas.  

Third Culture Minds is a mental health series exploring the experiences of New Zealanders from migrant and refugee backgrounds, hosted by Guled Mire. You can check out the full series here

Made with support from the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand