Asylum Process Produces High Levels of Distress, Impacts Mental Health

In the UK and EU, seeking asylum negatively impacts mental health and exacerbates distress.


A soon-to-be-published article finds that applying for asylum in the UK and EU produces high levels of distress due to hostile environments created by asylum policies. The new research, led by Jessie Mulcaire of University College London, additionally finds that the distress associated with applying for asylum and waiting to hear if the application is approved can exacerbate pre-existing mental health issues.

This research also reveals some factors that can protect against the consequences of the distress of seeking asylum, such as assistance from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), religion, and cognitive strategies.

The authors write:

ā€œThe themes demonstrate high levels of psychological distress during and after the asylum process. This was associated with the hostile environments created by policies and procedures. Participantsā€™ mental health was also affected by being caught in a stalemate while awaiting the outcome of their claim. The procedures exacerbated previous mental health difficulties.ā€

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