According to the Mental Health Foundation, research suggests that asylum seekers are five times more likely to have mental health needs than the generation population. It’s important that professionals and other people in the community are aware of how to support refugees’ mental health.
We know that migrants may be at increased risk of mental health problems because of their experiences before they arrive in the UK (such as war trauma or the journey) or because of what happens after they arrive (such as being separated from their family, difficulty with seeking asylum, and poor housing).
Here are some resources to support refugees, asylum seekers, and the professionals who support them.
Visit the Get help now page to find details of help for young people in crisis, including the NATTER text line (text NATTER to 85258, it’s free and confidential), NHS urgent mental health helplines, and organisations like Samaritans and Childline.
The Refugee Council have developed practical resources to support refugees and asylum seekers to access healthcare like GPs, community pharmacies, and dentists and opticians.
They have a guide to using the GP, some cards to help with communication, and a poster that explains the different NHS services. All of these are available in multiple languages.
The page also has a reading list about therapy for asylum seekers or refugees, aimed at a professional audience.
This page has information about the specialist mental health support that the Refugee Council provides. This includes one-to-one counselling, health and wellbeing workshops, support groups, and crisis intervention.
At the bottom of the page, there’s a button that takes you to a list of the Refugee Council’s mental health services. You can filter this list by region and category.
You can download the pack as a free PDF. It aims to help people and organisations understand some of the challenges that refugees and asylum seekers face. It has information about the refugee journey, issues to consider, and refugee mental health.
The section on mental health includes information on working with interpreters; the psychological impact of being an asylum seeker or refugee; trauma, stress, and the body; and how to help asylum seekers and refugees with mental health problems.
The resource contains case studies that may be triggering.
This page links to mental health information in lots of different languages. The information and resources available differ depending on the language you select.
This page on the government website has a lot of information about the mental health of migrants.
It links to guidance on trauma-informed practice principles for professionals who are working with migrants affected by trauma. It also explains access to NHS mental health services and links to other organisations that support the mental health of migrants.
The Helen Bamber Foundation provides care across six areas for survivors of trafficking and torture. They support through: therapy, legal protection, medical advice, housing and welfare, community and integration, and counter trafficking.
Freedom From Torture provide trauma-focused therapy across the UK for survivors of torture of all genders (including children). They also offer group activities like music and gardening, social groups, and physical therapy.
They also offer practical advice for clients seeking asylum. Interpreters are available.
More resources and further reading
If you know of resources we could add to this page, please get in touch by emailing BestForYou@cwplus.org.uk