City of Sanctuary Mental Health Resource Pack

City of Sanctuary have published a Mental Health Resource Pack [PDF] to help readers understand the circumstances of refugees and asylum seekers’ lives and how these circumstances affect their emotional wellbeing.

The 56-page booklet’s introduction explains that “it is designed to give you a real understanding of the lives of asylum seekers and refugees.”

“We hope to encourage you to help asylum seekers and refugees in any way you can, which will, in turn, help maintain or improve their mental health. This pack will also help you understand why people flee their country and help you develop an understanding of the journeys that asylum seekers undertake, which can be, and often are, very frightening.

“As people flee their countries at very different stages of life, either on their own or with others, we will look at a number of key issues which can impact on health and wellbeing. You will also find resources to further your understanding and support of refugees with mental health difficulties, along with information about how an organisation which wants to be proactive in supporting refugees can gain a Mental Health award from the City of Sanctuary.”

As well as giving useful background about the motivations and situations from which refugees flee, and providing case studies, the booklet examines best practice for communicating with interpreters, multiple losses and anxiety, the effect of trauma on the body, symptoms of stress and destressing techniques, accessing mental health support as well as crisis points and suicide risk.

Finally the booklet explains the three step process that can lead to a service being given a City of Sanctuary Mental Health Award by learning how to welcome refugees and asylum seekers, embed this learning and demonstrating knowledge sharing beyond your service.

Printed booklets are available in exchange for a £5+ donation to cover printing and postage. Contact Joanna@CityofSanctuary.org for details.