Access to mental health care is essential for refugees and migrants #WorldRefugeeDay
Psychological trauma, associated with political conflict, displacement, violence, loss of loved ones, torture, rape, dispossession and poverty contribute to poorer general maternal health. Discrimination and xenophobia can further exacerbate existing traumas and mental anguish. Cultural norms surrounding pregnancy and the lack of family and other support structures at this vulnerable time contributes to social isolation, exclusion and psychological distress.
“Loneliness, loss of identity, poverty and trauma are the main stressors that we see. Many refugee women have no one to talk to, and pregnancy makes them more vulnerable.” Charlotte Mande-Ilunga, counsellor PMHP
The Perinatal Mental Health Project (PMHP) has found that refugee status is a key factor contributing to mental illness in pregnant women.
Read more on our findings in this Issue Brief.
According to the latest report by The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) a record 65.3 million people were uprooted worldwide last year, many of them fleeing wars only to face walls, tougher laws and xenophobia as they reach borders.
In South Africa more than a million asylum seekers are waiting for their applications to be processed at the end of 2015 – the highest number in the world.