Refugees in Host Countries: Psychosocial Aspects and Mental Health

  • Branka AgicEmail author
  • Lisa Andermann
  • Kwame McKenzie
  • Andrew Tuck


In the last few years, the number of refugees worldwide has increased significantly, reaching the highest levels ever recorded. As described in the literature, the mental health of refugees is affected by their pre-migration, migration, and post-migration experiences. It is well documented that the circumstances that refugees go through can impact both their physical and mental health. While the pre-migration and migration factors cannot be altered, host countries can make the greatest impact on the mental health trajectories for refugees by addressing the post-migration psychosocial factors. This chapter discusses how certain social factors and policies can affect the psychological well-being and mental health of refugees and asylum seekers in Canada and other developed countries.

We will focus on the impact of the seven Ds: detention, denial of employment, dispersal, denial of health care, destitution, delayed decisions on applications, and discrimination. While these are often interrelated issues, they each play a role in the integration of refugees and influence their short- and long-term mental health and well-being. Restricting access to employment or health care and forcing refugees to live in certain areas or in impoverished circumstances without any certainty of their acceptance all have negative effects on mental health while reducing the likelihood of integrating and developing strong social bonds.


Refugee Refugee claimant Asylum seeker Seven Ds Denial Detention Destitution Delay Mental health Mental illness 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Branka Agic
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Lisa Andermann
    • 2
    • 3
  • Kwame McKenzie
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Andrew Tuck
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)TorontoCanada
  2. 2.University of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Mount Sinai HospitalTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Wellesley InstituteTorontoCanada

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