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Refugees suffer mental health problems under new Canadian detention rules

posted Aug 18, 2012, 11:03 AM by Milorad Borota   [ updated Aug 18, 2012, 11:03 AM ]
Published on Monday July 09, 2012 Karissa Donkin  Staff Reporter Toronto Star

Refugee claimants who undergo mandatory detention under a set of controversial new immigration rules are more likely to suffer mental health problems, says a clinical psychology expert.

In a commentary published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal Monday, Janet Cleveland says refugee claimants are likely to develop new or aggravate existing mental health issues such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or self-harm the longer they’re in a detention centre.

“These are people who have suffered severe trauma, high levels of (post-traumatic stress disorder), high levels of depression and on top of that, you put them in prison,” said Cleveland, a McGill researcher who focuses on the psychological health of asylum seekers and who co-wrote the commentary.