Mental health of applicants in the personal interview

EASO Mental health of applicants for international protection in Europe - 39
4. Mental health of applicants in the personal interview
Persons arriving in Europe and asking for international protection often have a difficult past. Many of these
applicants interviewed by repsondents have experienced violence, abuse and persecution. Often these acts
or threats of such acts have not stopped after they have fled their home country but have instead continued
in countries of transit. Libya, in partiuclar, has been p ointed out by many participants in this survey as a
country of concern that has placed many applicants i n unimaginable situations. According to respondents,
detention, torture, exploitation and other forms of cruelty have been reported by the majority of applicants
passing through Libya.
It is not only experiences pre-arrival in Europe that are relevant when dis cussing mental health of applicants
in the personal interview. Respondents shared that applicants that reapply after a negative decision and/or
have been in the asylum system for several years (4-5 years) in particular appear to be more prone to
presenting with mental health concerns. This is also due to the fact that procedures in many EU+ countries
are still taking too long.
While the feedback received indicates that symptoms present in adult applicants are similar irrespective of
their gender, it was also clear that children have their own particularities. Nevertheless, the respondents
stressed the resilience of children. Overall, respondents agreed that one problem not yet sufficiently
addressed is the importance of providing tailored, clear, and simple information to a pplicants on the asylum
procedure and what is important for their personal interview. Too many applicants reach the interview stage
of the procedure without being sufficiently prepared. This is simply because they were not aware what is
important. This is even more so the case when they were me ntally unstable. Lastly, most of the traumatic
experiences are extremely personal. Sharing these experiences with case officers at the first meeting can be
challenging. Therefore, preparation of applicants for the interview is important.
Delays in the asylum procedure further deteriorate the
mental health condition of the applicant.

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