As thousands of refugees arrive in European countries every day, mostly from Syria and Iraq, indications are that nearly half of them may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Julio Licinio, MD, of Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia, and colleagues examined information about 1,700 refugees at a Red Cross camp in Dresden, Germany. Unaccompanied children and young people under the age of 18, who accounted for 6% of the refugees there, were found to be the most in need of help for PTSD, the researchers reported in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.
It also found that more than 10% of refugees could suffer life-long changes to their personality due to exposure to events in their war-torn countries. In addition, mental health problems of refugees are worsened by the hostile words and actions from local inhabitants in towns where the camps are located.
“Psychiatric care of refugees has posed challenges right from the beginning, particularly the lack of interpreters and of language specific psychometric measuring instruments, as well as unsuitable premises for collecting psychiatric clinical data,” Licinio said in a statement. “As the refugee crisis snowballs, we need to develop novel and more effective strategies to improve physical and mental health, which is often overlooked, in refugee populations, particularly the young.”
Almost half of the current flood of refugees arriving in Germany could be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a paper co-authored by Flinders University’s Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry Julio Licinio.
Professor Licinio, who is a Deputy Director of the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), and Head of its Mind and Brain Theme, was one of six researchers who analyzed information gained from a Red Cross camp housing 1,700 refugees in Dresden.
He and his co-authors wrote that unaccompanied children and youths under 18 years of age arriving in Germany, who comprise around 6% of total refugees, were among the individuals most in need of protection and psychiatric attention.