Growing numbers of asylum seekers are being put into detention. A timely Campbell systematic review finds that detaining people who are already highly traumatised results in worsened mental health.
The number of refugees fleeing persecution and regional wars has surged. Some Western countries try to discourage those seeking asylum. The most extreme measures used include confining asylum seekers in detention facilities. This policy may increase mental health difficulties for asylum seekers, who are often already highly traumatized.
The systematic review summarizes three studies, all of which report adverse effects on the detained asylum seekers’ mental health, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety. These adverse effects on mental health persisted after release.