Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it.
Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event and can be classified into four groups:
Symptoms can vary over time or vary from person to person.
PTSD can arise not only from the conditions that led an immigrant to leave its home country (e.g. war, conflicts, poverty), but also from their experiences in the new country (e.g. unemployment, social exclusion).
Children, even when they have not directly experienced traumatic events, can be affected by stories that parents and other family members recall and retell.
Immigrants report significantly more depressive symptoms mainly due to their lower socioeconomic status.
Unemployment, isolation and the long wait in the asylum application process are directly related with depression.
How does untreated depression affect the human body?
The majority of refugees and immigrants are repeatedly exposed to stress and traumatic events in their home country and during their journey to safer areas.
Anxiety disorders are estimated to be present in 1–2 out of 10 refugees.
Making sure that refugees and immigrants achieve social integration in host countries can be regarded as potentially the most influential prevention strategy for mental disorders on a public health level.
wars and other forms of armed conflict, persecution, discrimination or natural disasters before the departure from their countries.
unemployment, loneliness, uncertainty about asylum procedures and the future, limited access to food and/or medical care.
concern about the fate of their families, regardless of whether the families immigrated with them or stayed in the country of origin.