Refugees and Asylum-seekers are among the most vulnerable members of society having poorer mental health than the general population

A review of international evidence and country experiences has found that asylum-seekers, refugees, and other displaced peoples have poorer mental health outcomes than those of the general population.

The International Horizon Scanning and Learning Report 45: Mental Health and Well-being of Refugees and Asylum-Seekers, also provided insights from Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands and Sweden on innovative and effective approaches to address the mental health and well-being of displaced people.  

Many of the mental health and wellbeing challenges identified relate to peoples’ experiences both before and after leaving their home countries. Often, they experience significant personal loss, physical hardships and other stress situations as a result of their displacement. They are often faced with poor living, housing and working conditions. Additional stresses include lack of information, uncertainty about immigration status, potential local hostility, changing government policies, and undignified and protracted detention. Rates of disorders related to extreme stress, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are higher in refugees and displaced people than in the general population. They can also suffer from adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). 

Asylum-seekers and refugees make a positive contribution to society which can be further enhanced by making sure they are in good physical and mental health by providing access to basic services, safety and social support. 

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