Marking World Mental Health day - 10th October 2019

Indefinite Immigration Detention Puts Mental Health at Risk.

Indefinite immigration detention places significant stress on women’s mental health, worsening existing conditions and creating new issues, says Bedford befriending charity.

Befrienders visit women in immigration detention, providing friendship and support, which can alleviate some of the isolation faced by women in detention.

A representative of Yarl’s Wood Befrienders said:

“The fact that women are detained indefinitely adds to the fear and uncertainty. Over the last year we have regularly visited women who speak of depression, self-harm and suicidal thoughts.

Unsurprisingly, the longer a person is detained, the more the symptoms of mental ill-health are likely to intensify.

The UK is the only country in Europe to detain people indefinitely. To detain a person costs close to £90 per person per day. The government recently rejected a motion to limit detention to 28 days.

“We have visited individuals who have been victims of trafficking, torture and domestic abuse. Yet they are often held far from any support networks. It is very frightening for them.”

Yarl’s Wood Befrienders is a registered charity that provides volunteers to visit women at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre, runs regular drop-in activity sessions in the centre and gives practical support to those who are detained.

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