YOUNG REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS
In 2020 we launched a pilot project offering psychotherapy to young refugees and asylum seekers in Shropshire who have been identified as most in need.
The Refugee Council reports that 61% of asylum seekers experience serious mental distress, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). They also report that refugees are 5 times more likely to have mental health needs than the UK population. We know that mental health support can make a real difference. On offering 1:1 counselling to children and young people, the Refugee Council reports that 73% of children reported an improvement in relation to feelings of loss and separation. 68% said that they were able to sleep better and 50% reported fewer suicidal feelings.
Shropshire is home to a growing number of refugee families with young children, and unaccompanied asylum seekers in their teens. These young people have suffered many losses and deep trauma. In order to access education and integrate into their new communities, they often need specialist psychological help which is not available in existing services.
Work began before the first lockdown in March 2020, and after a pause while schools were closed, resumed in the summer. We have worked in partnership with Shropshire Supports Refugees, local primary schools and Shrewsbury College, who have referred children and young people to the project.
Through this work to date 42 people have received support directly, and around 500 people have been supported indirectly.