Mental distress and human rights of asylum seekers

Article


Campbell, Emma Jean and Steel, Emily Jean. 2015. "Mental distress and human rights of asylum seekers." Journal of Public Mental Health. 14 (2), pp. 43-55. https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMH-06-2013-0040
Article Title

Mental distress and human rights of asylum seekers

ERA Journal ID40145
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsCampbell, Emma Jean (Author) and Steel, Emily Jean (Author)
Journal TitleJournal of Public Mental Health
Journal of Public Mental Health: the art, science and politics of creating a mentally healthy society
Journal Citation14 (2), pp. 43-55
Number of Pages14
Year2015
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN1475-9535
1746-5729
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1108/JPMH-06-2013-0040
Web Address (URL)http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/JPMH-06-2013-0040
Abstract

Purpose This paper studies the experiences of asylum seekers in Australia. It aims to explore the relationship between mental wellbeing, living conditions, and Australia’s detention policies in light of human rights. Design/methodology/approach Using grounded theory, data was collected via observations, semi-structured interviews, key-informant interviews, and document analysis. Participants included seven asylum seekers and three professionals working with them. Findings In light of a human rights framework, this paper reports on the mental distress suffered by asylum seekers in detention, the environments of constraint in which they live, and aspects of detention centre policy that contribute to these environments. The findings highlight a discrepancy between asylum seekers’ experiences under immigration detention policy and and Australia’s human rights obligations. Research limitations/implications This research indicates human rights violations for asylum seekers in detention in Australia. This research project involved a small number of participants and recommends systemic review of the policy and practices that affect asylum seekers’ mental health including larger numbers of participants. Consideration is made of alternatives to detention as well as improving detention centre conditions. The World Health Organization’s Quality Rights Tool Kit might provide the basis for a framework to review Australia’s immigration detention system with particular focus on the poor mental wellbeing of asylum seekers in detention. Originality/value This study links international human rights law and Australian immigration detention policies and practices with daily life experiences of suffering mental distress within environments of constraint and isolation. It identifies asylum seekers as a vulnerable population with respect to human rights and mental wellbeing. Of particular value is the inclusion of asylum seekers themselves in interviews.

Keywordswellbeing, policy, asylum seekers, human rights, mental health
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020489999. Other law and legal studies not elsewhere classified
440802. Citizenship
420313. Mental health services
Public Notes

File reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher/author.

Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Queensland
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Permalink -

https://research.usq.edu.au/item/q48vx/mental-distress-and-human-rights-of-asylum-seekers

  • 743
    total views
  • 12
    total downloads
  • 2
    views this month
  • 0
    downloads this month

Export as

Related outputs

Out of scope: locating assistive technology in injury insurance rehabilitation legislation and guidelines
Steel, Emily J.. 2017. "Out of scope: locating assistive technology in injury insurance rehabilitation legislation and guidelines." RESNA 2017 Annual Conference. New Orleans, United States 26 - 30 Jun 2017
The Convergence and Mainstreaming of Integrated Home Technologies for People with Disability
Layton, Natasha and Steel, Emily. 2019. "The Convergence and Mainstreaming of Integrated Home Technologies for People with Disability ." Societies. 9 (4), pp. 1-11. https://doi.org/10.3390/soc9040069
Spotlight on siblings: considering social context in home modification practice
Moller, Jessica, Schneider, Alison and Steel, Emily J.. 2019. "Spotlight on siblings: considering social context in home modification practice." Societies. 9 (2), pp. 1-8. https://doi.org/10.3390/soc9020030
The duplicity of choice and empowerment: disability rights diluted in Australia’s policies on assistive technology
Steel, Emily J.. 2019. "The duplicity of choice and empowerment: disability rights diluted in Australia’s policies on assistive technology." Societies. 9 (2), pp. 1-12. https://doi.org/10.3390/soc9020039
Understanding assistive technology as a pre-requisite for choice and participation
Steel, Emily J.. 2019. "Understanding assistive technology as a pre-requisite for choice and participation." Journal of Occupational Science. 26 (1), pp. 87-98. https://doi.org/10.1080/14427591.2018.1515648
Content analysis to locate assistive technology in Queensland’s motor injury insurance rehabilitation legislation and guidelines
Steel, Emily J.. 2020. "Content analysis to locate assistive technology in Queensland’s motor injury insurance rehabilitation legislation and guidelines." Assistive Technology. 32 (2), pp. 74-78. https://doi.org/10.1080/10400435.2018.1485780
Motivations and incentives: exploring assistive technology service delivery from the perspectives of multiple stakeholders
de Jonge, Desleigh, Layton, Natasha, Vicary, Francis and Steel, Emily J.. 2015. "Motivations and incentives: exploring assistive technology service delivery from the perspectives of multiple stakeholders." New Frontiers in Assistive Technology: RESNA Annual Conference 2015. Denver, United States 10 - 14 Jun 2015 Arlington, VA, United States .
Understanding choice in assistive technology service provision: considerations for research methodology
Steel, Emily J., Foster, Michele M. and Bennett, Sally. 2015. "Understanding choice in assistive technology service provision: considerations for research methodology." New Frontiers in Assistive Technology: RESNA Annual Conference 2015. Denver, United States 10 - 14 Jun 2015 Arlington, VA, United States.
Preparing students for health and social care practice through inter-professional learning
Turpin, Merrill, Lynch, Deborah, Spermon, Deborah and Steel, Emily J. 2015. "Preparing students for health and social care practice through inter-professional learning." 38th Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia Annual Conference (HERDSA 2015). Melbourne, Australia 06 - 09 Jul 2015 Australia.
Assistive technology provision: towards an international framework for assuring availability and accessibility of affordable high-quality assistive technology
de Witte, Luc, Steel, Emily, Gupta, Shivani, Ramos, Vinícius Delgado and Roentgen, Uta. 2018. "Assistive technology provision: towards an international framework for assuring availability and accessibility of affordable high-quality assistive technology." Disability and Rehabilitation Assistive Technology. 13 (5), pp. 467-472. https://doi.org/10.1080/17483107.2018.1470264
An environment built to include rather than exclude me: Creating inclusive environments for human well-being
Layton, Natasha A. and Steel, Emily J.. 2015. "An environment built to include rather than exclude me: Creating inclusive environments for human well-being." International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 12 (9), pp. 11146-11162. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120911146
Currency and competence of occupational therapists and consumers with rapidly changing technology
Steel, Emily J., Buchanan, Ricky, Layton, Natasha A. and Wilson, Erin. 2017. "Currency and competence of occupational therapists and consumers with rapidly changing technology." Occupational Therapy International. 2017, pp. 1-5. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/5612843
Drafting standards on cognitive accessibility: a global collaboration
Steel, Emily J. and Janeslatt, Gunnel. 2017. "Drafting standards on cognitive accessibility: a global collaboration." Disability and Rehabilitation Assistive Technology. 12 (4), pp. 385-389. https://doi.org/10.1080/17483107.2016.1176260
The right choice? An interpretive policy analysis of assistive technology in Australian disability services
Steel, Emily J.. 2017. The right choice? An interpretive policy analysis of assistive technology in Australian disability services. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Queensland.
The structural-personal interaction: occupational deprivation and asylum seekers in Australia
Crawford, Emma, Turpin, Merrill, Nayar, Shoba, Steel, Emily J. and Durand, Jean-Louis. 2016. "The structural-personal interaction: occupational deprivation and asylum seekers in Australia." Journal of Occupational Science. 23 (3), pp. 321-338. https://doi.org/10.1080/14427591.2016.1153510
Challenges of user-centred assistive technology provision in Australia: shopping without a prescription
Steel, Emily J., Layton, Natasha Ann, Foster, Michele M. and Bennett, Sally. 2016. "Challenges of user-centred assistive technology provision in Australia: shopping without a prescription." Disability and Rehabilitation Assistive Technology. 11 (3), pp. 235-240. https://doi.org/10.3109/17483107.2014.941953
Assistive technology in Australia: integrating theory and evidence into action
Steel, Emily J. and Layton, Natasha A.. 2016. "Assistive technology in Australia: integrating theory and evidence into action." Australian Occupational Therapy Journal. 63 (6), pp. 381-390. https://doi.org/10.1111/1440-1630.12293