This article reviews evidence about the impact of immigration detention and other restrictive immigration policies on the mental health of children, young people and the adults who care for them. We review the implications of this for clinicians attempting to assess or work with incarcerated child and adult refugees and asylum seekers.
There are increasing numbers of adults and children seeking asylum across the globe and many nations use incarceration and other harsh and interceptive immigration practices. There is mounting evidence of the psychological harm associated with detention of already vulnerable adults and children. Australia is used as a case study.
Clinicians are required to consider the intersection of mental health assessment and treatment with human rights violations, and the impact of restrictive immigration policies, not only on asylum seekers and refugees but also on clinicians, clinical practice and professional ethics.
aSydney Children's and Prince of Wales Hospitals
bSchool of Psychiatry, University of NSW, Sydney
cPsychiatry Research and Teaching Unit, School of Psychiatry, University of NSW, Australia
dCentre for Child Development and Education, Menzies School of Health Research, Northern Territory
eRedbank House, Western Sydney
fCentre for Developmental Psychiatry and Psychology, C/- Monash Medical Centre, 246 Clayton Road, Clayton, Victoria, Australia
Correspondence to Dr Michael Dudley, Adolescent Service, Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick NSW 2031, Australia. Tel: +61 2 9382 4347; fax: +61 2 9382 4358; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org