Time and again, we witness unaccompanied refugees suffering mental health problems when they apply for asylum at 18. They need support, not uncertainty
At the age of 13, Janan witnessed his father being beaten to death by members of the Taliban in Afghanistan and his mother dragged off into the night. Recognising the danger to Janan, his relatives sold his parents’ land and paid traffickers to take him to safety. Traumatised and vulnerable, he set off on a horrific nine-month journey. He recalls gruelling marches over mountains in the snow and witnessing the shooting of fellow travellers who fell behind through hunger and fatigue. Every new day that dawned, Janan thought would be his last. Sadly, his story is not uncommon.
One part of our system – mental health care – is acting to repair the damage done by another part – the asylum process