The impact of detention on the health of asylum seekers

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This review suggests that there is an independent adverse effect of detention on the mental health of asylum seekers. However, this conclusion should be interpreted cautiously as the review is only based on three studies.

To discourage asylum seekers, many Western countries confine asylum seekers in detention facilities as an administrative procedure. This review aims to determine if detention influences the mental and physical health of asylum seekers. Three studies were included in the analysis, for a total of 359 participants across the three studies. Two studies provided data for participants currently experiencing detention, while the other study provided data following the months after participants were released. The review found that PTSD, depression, and anxiety could be adversely attributed to detention of asylum-seekers. This negative effect on mental health was found both during detention and immediately following release. However, as the review only included three studies, additional research is required to substantiate any conclusions and inform any policy decision making.

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