Kristina Kalfic (1), Glenn Mitchell (1), Lezanne Ooi (2,3,4), Sibylle G. Schwab (3,4,5), Natalie Matosin (2,3,4,6)*

(1) School of Humanities and Social Inquiry, University of Wollongong, Northfields Ave, Wollongong 2522, Australia
(2) School of Biological Sciences, University of Wollongong, Northfields Ave, Wollongong 2522, Australia
(3) Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute, Northfields Ave, Wollongong 2522, Australia
(4) Molecular Horizons, Northfields Ave, Wollongong 2522, Australia
(5) SMAH International Unit, University of Wollongong, Northfields Ave, Wollongong 2522, Australia
(6) Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Kraepelinstrasse 2-10, 80804 Munich, Germany
*Corresponding author

 

Abstract

Refugees and asylum seekers are one of the most significant global issues of this generation. We are currently witnessing the highest level of displacement in history, with over 65 million displaced people in the world. Refugees and asylum seekers are at higher risk to develop mental illness due to their trauma and chronic stress exposures, and particularly post-migration stressors. Yet global and Australian psychiatric research in this area is greatly lacking, particularly with respect to our understanding of the molecular underpinnings of risk and resilience to mental illness in traumatised populations. In this Viewpoint, we explore the reasons behind the lack of refugee mental health research and use this context to propose new ways forward. We believe that scientific discovery performed with a multidisciplinary approach will provide the broad evidence-base required to improve refugee mental health. This will also allow us to work towards the removal of damaging policies that prolong and potentiate mental health deterioration among refugees and asylum seekers, which impacts not only on the individuals but also host countries’ social, economic and healthcare systems.

 

This article is in submission with a journal that does not allow preprints. Feel free to get in touch for more information.