Refugees and Asylum Seekers

  • M. Schouler-OcakEmail author
Reference work entry
Part of the Mental Health and Illness Worldwide book series (MHIW)


According to the UNHCR, in the year 2018, more than 68.5 million people live in external or internal situation of displacement. The reasons are different and complex, including political, logistic, economic, and social factors. Women and girls make up around 50% of any refugee, internally displaced, or stateless people. It is highly likely that the stress factors before, during, and after migration will contribute to the development of psychiatric disorders in vulnerable individuals. In some cases, the onset of illness may occur soon after migration, whereas in other cases, mental health problems may develop over time as one result of the impact of social factors and changes related to the host society. Additionally, post-migration factors have a high impact on the development of psychiatric disorders. Therefore, healthcare services should prepare themselves to serve this group of refugee, asylum seeker, and ethnic minority patients in a better way. Furthermore, in all these issues, gender-specific factors also have to be taken into consideration. Individual, psychological resources, social support, a successful acculturation processes, cultural variations, and time since relocation are statistically significant protective factors against the development of common mental disorders among refugees, asylum seekers, and ethnic minorities.


Refugees and asylum seekers Mental health Gender Social support Cultural competence 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University Psychiatric Clinic of Charite at St. Hedwig’s HospitalBerlinGermany

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