Mental Health Of Detained Asylum Seekers An Ongoing Concern

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27th January 2010, 02:00pm - Views: 345





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27 January 2010 

Mental health of detained asylum seekers an ongoing concern


The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists today supported comments by

Australian of the Year Professor Patrick McGorry that immigration detention centres contribute to

mental health problems amongst asylum seekers. 


Professor Louise Newman, President of The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of

Psychiatrists and a psychiatrist involved in treating asylum seekers, said, "there is clear research

evidence that detaining vulnerable groups, who have experienced torture, trauma and loss in remote

facilities is a recipe for serious mental health problems. Remote facilities such as Christmas Island

are particularly concerning”.


Previous research has found high rates of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and mental

disorder in asylum seekers, including detained children. Professor Newman noted that the rates of

mental health problems are linked to time spent in detention. "It is very worrying that processing

claims are increasing on Christmas Island and that individuals and families who have experienced

trauma are being kept there for longer”.


“The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists supports the movement of all

traumatised asylum seekers to the mainland where they can have access to appropriate mental

health services,” said Professor Newman.


"There are currently no visiting psychiatrists on Christmas Island despite recommendations made to

the Department of Immigration and Citizenship by its own advisory group,” said Professor Newman. 


"It is time for the Government to take the mental health issues of asylum seekers seriously and avoid

a repeat of the situation we have seen in the past,” said Professor Newman. 


For further information:

Professor Louise Newman 

Telephone: 0418 453 447

About The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) is the principal organisation

representing the medical specialty of psychiatry in Australia and New Zealand and has responsibility for

training, examining and awarding the qualification of Fellowship of the College to medical practitioners. 

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