Psychologically Distressed Refugee Children in the United Kingdom



There are at least 50,000 refugee children and adolescents in the UK, mostly living in London. These young people and their families will have been exposed to high levels of violence, disruption of social life and losses, all of which will increase their risk for psychiatric disorders. Up to 40% may have psychiatric disorders, mostly depression, posttraumatic stress disorder and other anxiety related difficulties. Multi-agency support to refugee youngsters and families is important. Some refugee children and adolescents will require help from specialist mental health services that will need to be flexible in view of the refugees’ cultural diversity, mobility and the need for the full range of treatments. Special efforts are required to reach this vulnerable group, and links with social services and schools in particular should be considered.