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Med J Aust. 2001 Dec 3-17;175(11-12):596-9.

The mental health implications of detaining asylum seekers.

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Psychiatry Research and Teaching Unit, School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Liverpool Hospital, Sydney.


The possible mental health impact on asylum seekers of Australia's policy of mandatory detention is an issue of special relevance to health professionals and the public. Independent commissions of inquiry in Australia have found varying degrees of mental distress to be common in detained asylum seekers. Research studies in Australia and elsewhere suggest that detained asylum seekers may have suffered greater levels of past trauma than other refugees, and this may contribute to their mental health problems, with their detention providing a retraumatising environment. Studies are urgently required to examine the mental health consequences of detention, and to determine the effect of detention on acculturation and adaptation for asylum seekers subsequently released into the community.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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