The Impact of Detention on the Health of Asylum Seekers

Added November 10, 2015

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There is some evidence to suggest an independent adverse effect of detention on the mental health of asylum seekers. The magnitude of the effect sizes lay in a clinical important range despite the fact that the comparison groups used in the primary studies faced a range of similar post-migration adversities and had a more or less similar experience of prior traumatic events as the detained asylum seekers. Adverse effects on the mental health were found not only while the asylum seekers were detained, but also after release suggesting that the adverse mental health effect of detention may be prolonged, extending well beyond the point of release into the community.The conclusions should however be interpreted with caution as they are based on only three studies. While additional research is needed, the review does, however, offer support to the view that the detention of already traumatised asylum seekers may have adverse effects on their mental health.