Advocates seek better mental health support for asylum seekers


Mental Health Solitudesource: Yahoo News
published: 7 October 2014

Mental health care providers want better care for asylum seekers living in the community waiting on the outcome of visa applications.

Asylum seeker advocates have warned that uncertainty over applications was causing mental health problems, and long waiting periods have been blamed for what has been described as secondary trauma or “visa distress”.

Many asylum seekers spend years in immigration detention not knowing if they will get a permanent visa or be sent home. The situation was considered worse for those processed while living in the community. Unlike those in detention, access to mental health care is only provided if they have acute symptoms.

Greg Turner is a practising psychologist and the director of World Wellness Centre in Brisbane. The practice offers free psychological care to refugees and asylum seekers in the community.

“Probably about 80 per cent of our clients are presenting with issues post migration, around visa distress,” he said.

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