A civilised society: Mental health provision for refugees and asylum-seekers in England and Wales

Every year thousands of people arrive in the UK seeking sanctuary, fleeing conflict, political upheaval and persecution. Once here their problems are often far from over. They face the uphill battle of gaining leave to stay, racism, isolation, separation from friends and family, and, for many, poverty and destitution.

The combined impact of these experiences on the mental health and wellbeing of refugees and asylum-seekers can be devastating. We spent a year talking to 150 refugee community groups in England and with service providers across England and Wales to find out the mental health needs of refugees and asylum seekers. We asked how services are helping or failing them and how we can surmount the cultural and language barriers that prevent them from seeking or receiving effective support.

This report, produced with the support of the Lloyds TSB Foundation for England and Wales, details the findings and recommendations of Mind's research.

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Improving mental health support for refugee communities - an advocacy approach

The Refugee and asylum-seeker mental health advocacy project was developed to build a better understanding of the mental health concerns of refugees and asylum-seekers in England and to use these data to improve their ability to find pathways to appropriate mental health support.

The core approach was to work with advocates from refugee community organisations to develop a robust form of mental health advocacy. This form of advocacy includes not only focused support for individuals, but also advocacy for the community as a whole.

In the community function the aim was to create a dialogue with the community on issues of mental health (including stigma) and to engage with primary care trusts and other provider agencies to develop community-focused services.

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MindThink report 4: Psychiatry, race and culture

There is a sizable body of evidence detailing the over-representation and disproportionately negative experiences of BME people within secure mental health settings.

Understanding and responding to the causes of this have over many years generated heated debate among service users, academics, community representatives and others.

The purpose of this report is to explore the role of psychiatry in perpetuating this disparity.

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MindThink report 1: Putting the soul back into psychiatry

How does psychiatry related to service users? Does the training of psychiatrists equip them to work effectively in the modern world? Can psychiatry operate across cultural boundaries? Can it take religious beliefs seriously?

These questions are explored in the first report in the MindThink series, which calls for meaningful service user, carer and community involvement in psychiatric training and practice.

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