Mental Health Foundation Scotland condemns forced evictions of asylum seekers

By agency reporter
June 20, 2019

The Mental Health Foundation – Scotland’s charity for the prevention of mental ill health – has warned that Serco’s plan to evict 300 asylum seekers will exacerbate trauma and anxiety disorders among one of Scotland’s most vulnerable communities.

The charity has called on the UK Government to work with Glasgow City Council to ensure that asylum seekers are not evicted from their only source of accommodation and safety. Asylum seekers are five times more likely to have mental health needs than the general population, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or other anxiety disorders and more than 61 per cent will experience serious mental distress. They are also less likely to receive mental health support than the general population due to cultural and language barriers and stigma.

The charity works directly with refugees and asylum seekers and plays an important role in their integration and empowerment through trauma informed approaches and psycho-educational sessions.

Lee Knifton, Head of Mental Health Foundation Scotland said:  “Serco’s actions are inflicting unnecessary panic, fear and anxiety on asylum seekers who are, in many cases, recovering from trauma, [and] shows that there’s been no consideration for their health and wellbeing by the company or indeed the Home Office.

“Serco and the UK Government must put an end to the enduring climate of intimidation and fear and work constructively with Glasgow City Council for a long-term solution that will guarantee people dignity and a place of safety.

“Asylum seekers are men, women and children who have been uprooted from their homes and communities around the world and forced to seek the protection of another country. They have faced persecution, perhaps due to conflict, to their political or religious beliefs, their gender or sexuality. We should be making it easier, not harder, for them to recover from trauma and lead meaningful and fulfilling lives.”

* Mental Health Foundation https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/

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