Charity "mentoring scheme" gives Scotland's refugees the skills to flourish

The Mental Health Foundation Scotland is today, (6th February) shining a spotlight on its mentoring scheme which pairs Scotland’s refugee and asylum seeking community with employers, equipping them with the life skills, confidence and opportunity to make a full contribution to their new home – as well as fostering social connections and boosting their mental health.

Asylum seekers and refugees are more likely to experience poor mental health than the local population, including higher rates of depression, PTSD and other anxiety disorders. Research suggests that asylum seekers are five times more likely to have mental health needs than the general population and more than 61% will experience serious mental distress. However, data shows that they are less likely to receive support than the general population.

The mentoring scheme, which was recently launched, is part of a wider programme of work that supports the mental health of refugees and asylum seekers. Other projects include community conversations which raise awareness of mental wellbeing through the arts and community empowerment initiatives that help refugees navigate life in their new home. 

Glasgow Girl Amal Azzudin, Equality and Human Rights Officer (Refugees) at the Mental Health Foundation said:

“Scotland’s New Scots Strategy is clear that the integration of refugees and asylum seekers should start from day one of arrival in Scotland. To fully achieve this, people must be supported to be self-sufficient and employment is a key part in achieving that. Asylum seekers legally can’t work, and many refugees struggle with language and cultural barriers that prevent them from finding suitable employment. Our mentoring scheme responds to this reality by giving people life-skills, knowledge and confidence while boosting their self-esteem and wellbeing.

“Although asylum seekers can’t legally work, we must recognise that they can still make a contribution to society through volunteering. That’s why we’re calling on employers to come forward and offer mentoring opportunities that will equip them with the life-skills they need to live full and fulfilling lives.”

Are you an employer? Find out more about our scheme and how to get involved