Researchers at the University of South Australia assessed the range of psychological implications among asylum seekers in Western nations.
As published in the British Medical Bulletin, the team of researchers examined close to two dozen studies involving more than 3,000 asylum seekers from various nations.
From their analysis of the studies, it quickly became evident that poor mental health was a significant problem among the participants, particularly during the asylum immigration process.
The new findings vindicate past studies indicating severe mental distress and persistent depressive symptoms consistent with their culture. As a result, the research team acknowledged the use of a trauma-informed approach, which could be beneficial for asylum seekers.
“Being aware of trauma and consciously working to avoid causing more trauma or re-traumatisation is the approach needed—showing empathy toward the person, while gently encouraging them to develop their autonomy and support them to make positive mental health care choices,” said Heather McIntyre, an Australian researcher at the University’s Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Research Group.
“Findings highlighted significant differences in the mental health status of asylum seekers compared to those with refugee status and permanent residence,” according to co-author Miriam Posselt and her colleagues.
“Future research should consider the impact of large-scale, low-cost interventions to support the mental health of those seeking asylum,” the co-authors concluded in their findings.