Asylum seeking and refugee children – What are their health needs and are they being met in the UK?

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Asylum seeking and refugee children – What are their health needs and are they being met in the UK?

Introduction:

Thousands of asylum seekers enter the UK every year. Many of them are children and many are unaccompanied. Their health needs are vast and can be physical or mental, stemming from a variety of situations. This review aims to find out how these children‟s health needs are being met in the UK.

Aim:

To discover the specific health needs of asylum seeker and refugee children in the UK and to see how and if the health services meet their needs. This paper will look at the effect of detention on the mental and physical health of children as well as unaccompanied children.

Method:

The search engines AMED, BNI, CINAHL, EMBASE, Health Business Elite, HMIC, MEDLINE and PsycINFO were used to search for journal articles that were critically appraised before being discussed.

Results:

That asylum seeker and refugee children experience a wide range of mental disorders stemming from pre/post/arrival trauma. This can present itself as depression and PTSD in older children or as sleep disturbances, loss of appetite and enuresis in younger children.

Conclusion:

Post-traumatic stress disorder is prevalent in these children. As health needs are not met sufficiently so their mental health deteriorates. There is a gap in services for children especially as they become young adults. There is also a conflict of views when it comes to counselling and helping children with mental health problems. There is still a need for more research in relation to the health needs of asylum seeker children in the UK.

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