Mental Health, Suicidal Thoughts and Self-Harm Inside Immigration Detention
University of Oxford and Nottingham Trent University, Forthcoming
7 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2016
Date Written: November 1, 2016
Evidence from the Oxford studies inside UK Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs) has shown that detainees inside the centres experience worrying levels of depression, deliberate self-harm and suicidal thoughts (Bosworth & Kellezi, 2012; 2015; Bosworth, Kellezi & Slade, 2012; Gerlach & Bosworth, 2016). This research also shows that the majority of those reporting suicidal thoughts are not currently part of ACDT plans within IRCs. An analysis of 377 surveys distributed across 6 IRCS between 2010-2014, showed that there are a number of risk factors associated with depression, self-harm and suicidal thoughts. Detainees who had spent less time in the UK prior to detention were more likely to report suicidal thoughts, and those who had applied for asylum reported higher scores of depression. Detainees who were concerned with safety inside detention reported higher suicidal thoughts and self-harm. This same analysis shows that over 70% of those who had thought about killing themselves, and over 78% of those who had self-harmed whilst in that IRC were not part of ACDT plans (Kellezi, Bosworth, & Slade, 2016).
The present study investigated a number of topics related to mental health, self-harm and suicide in detention. The study took place in Yarl’s Wood IRC in June 2016, and it involved 25 semi-structured interviews with women detainees and 6 members of staff. A number of results emerged from the analysis of the interviews relating to detainee mental health in general and those on ACDT plans in particular. The issues identified apply specifically to women detainees. Further research is required to explore whether they would apply to male detainees.
Keywords: mental health, immigration detention, self-harm, UK
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