Refugee Mental Health

Mental health is just as important as physical health, and thus it deserves as much attention as all other aspects of our lives. But we often become so preoccupied in the chaos of living that we forget to take a breather and look after ourselves. 


Mental health in the Asian community is already stigmatised, but facing it and trying to find ways to be more positive and controlling one’s thoughts is even more difficult for refugees.  

Often when refugees seek asylum in a country, they have no control over where they are placed. Some environments are not suitable and cannot cater to their needs, which can also contribute to anxiety and depression. Moreover, the uncertainty of how long refugees are placed in certain areas, alongside the fear of having no money and no experience of jobs, can cause problems with their mental health.  

I came across a piece online which talked about the role of place, and how displacement contributes to mental health issues in refugees. For example, after escaping danger and arriving to a new country, refugees can be subject to homelessness or unsuitable living conditions. Adapting to a new country, a different culture, and learning to understand a language that is far different from your native tongue, are inevitable sources of anxiety and tension. All of this is worsened by instances of racism and social discrimination. 

Trying to navigate life in a new country is hard enough, let alone doing so as a deeply traumatised individual who has lost so much along the way. A report by the Refugee Council stated that 61% of asylum seekers experience serious mental distress, and refugees specifically are five times more likely to face mental health issues than the UK population.  

Studies have found that despite this, “rates of help-seeking for mental health problems are low amongst refugee communities.” There are many barriers that prevent refugees from seeking help - the stigma surrounding mental health is one of them. Many of us may face prolonged periods of sadness, depression, anxiety and stress, but do not seek help on a specific diagnosis, leading to a further decline in our mental health.  

I am a strong believer in the idea that a priceless solution to easing our trials and tribulations is prayer. Regardless of your religion, prayer can help in countless ways. In Islam, it is known that God will not burden a soul more than he/she can bear. Although refugees continue to face struggles, placing their faith in God will not only help mentally and spiritually, but also provide them with the hope and optimism that they too can have and deserve a prosperous future. 

While prayer can undoubtedly have a positive impact, seeking professional help from a psychologist or counsellor can further aid your recovery and help you lead a peaceful life. Paiwand is aware of the need for culturally-specific counselling methods. We provide talking therapies in Dari, Farsi, Pashto and English, as well as psycho-educational sessions in the community, helping people overcome hardship and achieve their potential. We also specialise in helping young refugees and immigrants in Harrow.

If you are struggling with your mental health, please contact us today – we can help you; there is no need to sit in the darkness alone. 



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