Mental health support for refugees and asylum seekers - Refugee Council

Mental health support for refugees and asylum seekers

With almost 20 years’ experience of providing mental health services to refugees, Refugee Council is a leading authority on the mental health needs of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK.

People seeking safety in the UK are often deeply traumatised. We help them to make sense of their experiences, drawing on their resilience and strength to recover and start rebuilding their lives.

Many of the people we support have lived through dreadful experiences and faced devastating losses. All have lost their homes, their livelihoods and their communities and been separated from their loved ones. Many have witnessed terrible violence, been tortured, seen family and friends killed and made perilous journeys before they finally arrive in the UK.

Here in the UK, refugees also suffer acute anxiety about the complex asylum process. They worry about accommodation, money, education, access to legal advice. They fear detention, deportation, destitution and homelessness. And there is a constant concern about loved ones left behind or missing.

All this takes a heavy toll on their emotional and psychological wellbeing.

61%

of asylum seekers experience serious mental distress

500%

refugees are five times more likely to have mental health needs than the UK population

How we help

We provide specialist mental health support to help refugees to rebuild their lives using the resilience, strength and skills acquired on their journeys. Our experienced and highly qualified therapists apply a range of evidenced-based and best practice approaches including:

  • One-to-one counselling, giving individuals intensive support to heal in a safe, private space
  • Psycho-education - health and wellbeing workshops to help refugees to better understand their own situations promote long-term recovery and support each other
  • Psychosocial groups where refugees have opportunities to come together, explore their own experience and share them with their peers
  • Intensive casework and crisis intervention when they are at greatest risk of harm

Who we support

As well as adult refugees and asylum seekers, we work with families and unaccompanied children who arrive in the UK alone. Find out more about how we support them below.


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You can help refugees and asylum seekers rebuild their lives in the UK by making a donation or volunteering on one of our projects.

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If you work with refugees and asylum seekers or you need support yourself, find out more about the support we offer below.