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

Location: Scotland

6th Feb 2019
Challenging mental health inequalities

This content discusses trauma, depression and anxiety, which some people may find triggering.

The Mental Health Foundation Scotland is today (6 February) shining a spotlight on its mentoring scheme, which pairs Scotland’s refugee and asylum-seeking communities 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 well-being through the arts and community empowerment initiatives that help refugees navigate life in their new homes.

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 of 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 well-being.

“Although asylum seekers can’t legally work, we must recognise that they can still contribute 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.”

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Refugee programmes

Explore our programmes about refugees and helping their mental health.

Statistics: refugees and asylum seekers

At the end of 2015, there were 123,000 asylum seekers and refugees in the UK.

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