Life After Trauma: The Mental-Health Needs of Asylum Seekers in Europe

In the wake of the 2015-16 European migrant and refugee crisis, mental health has emerged as a critical issue—not only for the well-being of asylum seekers who may have experienced trauma, but for the outcomes of their protection claims and the integrity of the processing system itself. Many of these asylum seekers suffer from conditions such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), having lived through traumatic events before they set off on their journey, along the way, or both. Human Rights Watch described the mental-health situation among protection seekers in Greece as a “silent crisis” threatening the entire asylum system. Although asylum law in the European Union recognizes the importance of providing mental-health care, in practice individual Member States—overwhelmed by processing large numbers of asylum seekers—have found it difficult to detect and treat these conditions.

Migration Policy