Discussion and conclusion

52 - EASO Mental health of applicants for internatio nal protection in Europe
5. Discussion and conclusion
Respondents participating in the survey did not only share chall enges but also provided several
recommendations on how to ensure more effectiveness in preventing mental health concerns of applicants
and how to respond to their needs. According to participants, a good number of applicants present with
mental health concerns due to exposure to traumatic events in their country of origin. These concerns are
exacerbated by prolonged asylum procedures, lack of staff to respond appropriately, lack of access to
applicants in need in accelerated procedures, overcrowded reception facilities, placement in detention and
lack of access to relevant information. Responde nts agreed that a stronger focus should be placed on
prevention of mental health concerns in applicants instead of response only. This can, however, only be
successful when sufficient investments are made in national asylum systems, in terms of human resources,
direct service provision, development of streamlined procedures a nd providing appropriate space for
5.1 Recommendations
In terms of resources, it was suggested to address the needs of vulnerable applicants in a timely manner and
support with meaningful interventions while keeping prevention of mental health concerns at the core.
Recently some AMIF/EU funded projects have started to help, for example with early recognition of mental
health issues at the reception centres. Additonal funding for similar projects was considered useful by
On an organisational level, strong commitment and i nvestment by authorities into reception and staff in
general was suggested. A need for more flexibility in terms of scheduling work was stressed, which should be
linked to the identified needs of the applicants. The importance of access to applicants in detention by
specialists (e.g. psychologist, psychiatrists etc.) was highlighted. Further, clear protocols, SOPs, clear job
descriptions to avoid overlaps by staff working in this field needs attention. Inv estment in staff wellbeing
was highlighted and lastly, the availability of interpreters to support professionals in their work needs
stronger consideration.
In terms of expertise and a skilled workforce, training courses on an ethical work appro ach (as it relates to
code of conduct and accountability) were sug gested as well as training in both psychiatric and non-
psychiatric emergencies. Stress and anger management related training mod ules were seen useful for first-
line workers and a general information package on migration and a sylum for specific specialists such as
medical doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists, who support in providing medical certification for
applicants was seen as crucial. Support sessions on how to keep the balance between information needed
for the purpose of the personal interview and not further t raumatising the applicant were discussion points
The behaviour of applicants we work with affects us.’

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