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ART REFUGE reflecting at the end of MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK, May 13-19, 2024

Refugees & asylum seekers face unique, complex challenges related to their mental health. Increased vulnerability is linked to pre-migration experiences such as war trauma, & post-migration conditions such as separation from family, poor housing & difficulties /uncertainties around asylum procedures. Asylum seekers are five times more likely to have mental health needs than the general population & yet less likely to receive support (mentalhealth.org.uk). @mentalhealthfoundation


The Illegal Migration Act and recent Rwanda Act have led to greatly increased stress and anxiety for those seeking asylum in the UK, which we have witnessed across our work, making mental health & wellbeing support for people caught up in the asylum system of critical importance in the current hostile climate.


Art Refuge provides culturally-relevant, open access psychosocial group support for asylum seekers living in precarious outdoor conditions in northern France and in Home Office accommodation in the UK. The latter currently includes former military camps in Kent and Essex, and contingency hotels in Bristol and other settings in southern England. Our programmes are delivered by experienced HCPC registered art therapists and artists, including artists with lived experience of displacement, using our dynamic model The Community Table.


In addition, Art Refuge provides skills sharing and focused training workshops for frontline workers on subjects related to mental health support and working in a trauma-informed way. We do so across the UK & internationally, recent examples being in Lviv, Ukraine in March w/ @firstaidofthesoul and in May to @scottishrefugeecouncil in relation to Making Welcoming Spaces for this Summer’s Refugee Festival in Scotland.


Please follow, donate via our Link Tree or www.artrefuge.org.uk & continue to raise awareness of the mental health needs of people displaced and seeking asylum.




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