News

Mental distress in asylum seekers cause for alarm: expert

Professor Louise Newman believes the current bipartisan support for offshore processing served only to relocate relatively few asylum seekers in an act of deterrence.
Professor Louise Newman believes the current bipartisan support for offshore processing served only to relocate relatively few asylum seekers in an act of deterrence. Department of Immigration and Citizenship

A LEADING psychiatrist has called for an urgent review of Australia's policy of processing asylum-seekers offshore.

Writing in the Medical Journal of Australia, Professor Louise Newman warned high rates of self-harm and mental distress among asylum-seekers in long-term detention should be ringing alarm bells for both sides of politics.

She said offshore processing remained a "high-risk strategy" because of lingering concerns around the impact of detention on vulnerable groups, including torture and trauma survivors, and those with mental disorders, according to a leading psychiatrist.

Prof Newman, the director of the Centre for Developmental Psychiatry and Psychology at Monash University, believes the current bipartisan support for offshore processing served only to relocate relatively few asylum seekers in an act of deterrence.

"Research has shown high levels of mental disorder in detainee populations, as well as an association between length of time in detention and mental deterioration," Prof Newman said.

"What is deeply concerning is the potential for long-term detention in remote locations to lead to mental breakdown, as witnessed a decade ago in the first version of the Australian government's Pacific Solution policy.

"We should question the use of offshore processing and support mainland community-based processing of asylum claims and end prolonged detention."

She said the medical profession had a key role in advocating for a humane response to asylum-seekers.

Prof Newman's call came as another asylum seeker boat was intercepted in Australian waters on Monday night.

The boat, which was stopped north of Ashmore Islands, was carrying 57 asylum-seekers and two crew.

Topics:  asylum seekers, medical journal of australia




Join the Community.

Get your local news, your way.

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Five things to do in Ipswich this week

ON SONG: The Ipswich City Big Band performs at Bremer State High School’s Jazz Under The Stars.

Check out what's on in the region this week

Luxury car bursts into flames

Fire crews called to car fire on Warrego Hwy

Government follows Opposition’s lead over Ipswich Mwy

GRID LOCK: The Coalition has committed $200m to fund the Ipswich Motorway upgrade between Darra and Rocklea.

FUNDS for Ipswich Motorway upgrade to be announced in federal budget

Latest deals and offers

Man allegedly reaches 182kmh

A REDBANK Plains man has been charged for dangerous driving and a number of other serious offences after allegedly reaching speeds of 182kmh on the Ipswich Motorway.

A REDBANK Plains man has been charged for dangerous driving and a number of other...

Man allegedly reaches 182kmh in Goodna

A REDBANK Plains man has been charged for dangerous driving and a number of other serious offences after allegedly reaching speeds of 182kmh on the Ipswich Motorway.

A REDBANK Plains man has been charged for dangerous driving and a number of other...

Man allegedly reaches 182kmh in Goodna

A REDBANK Plains man has been charged for dangerous driving and a number of other serious offences after allegedly reaching speeds of 182kmh on the Ipswich Motorway.

A REDBANK Plains man has been charged for dangerous driving and a number of other...

Demand for acreage lots pushes up property prices

Property values in Cooroy have increased 25%

Property values jump in Cooroy and Peachester.

How a sacked real estate agent made $725k in four months

Agent is now under investigation by the industry watchdog

RBA warns of future apartment oversupply

Toowoomba: Crest Apartments and Burke & Wills, Ruthven Street ( view from Neil Street) Photo Bev Lacey / The Chronicle

RBA says oversupply of apartments poses risk to household finances