Children Seeking Asylum: Mental Health and Human Rights
Children seeking asylum are among the most vulnerable members of the population of displaced persons. Many have had experiences of trauma, loss, and disruption which add to the normal and intertwined developmental challenges of attachment, relationship formation, emotion regulation, stress response, and developing a basic sense of safety. Families seeking asylum face challenges in parenting which are complicated by long-term displacement, loss of community support, and difficulties finding a safe haven. This further affects their children’s development, as parenting is compromised by these stressors. Unfortunately, Australia’s policies toward these asylum seekers are not focused on humanitarian needs, but rather on deterring asylum seeking altogether, and include mandatory detention even for children. This policy creates an additional negative impact on the mental health and well-being of these children, raises serious clinical and ethical dilemmas, and creates an urgent need to develop and deliver trauma-focused interventions to these young, vulnerable refugees.
KeywordsAsylum seekers Refugees Immigration Trauma
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