Mental Health Assessment and Referral Service

Refugees and asylum seekers, while far from a homo­gen­eous group, exper­i­ence some types of health prob­lem at a high­er fre­quency than oth­er groups in soci­ety. Aside from re-exist­ing chron­ic health con­di­tions or those related to the pre­val­ence of infec­tious dis­eases in their coun­tries of ori­gin, they are fre­quently exposed to trau­mas res­ult­ant from flight, fam­ily sep­ar­a­tion or even abuse and tor­ture. As a con­sequence, they fre­quently exper­i­ence a vari­ety of men­tal health prob­lems related to their exper­i­ences at home as well as in the host coun­try, while deal­ing with the com­plic­ated con­di­tions of an enforced exile.

Des­ti­tute asylum seekers face an addi­tion­al set of prob­lems related to being refused asylum and to the des­ti­tu­tion that almost invari­able accom­pan­ies refus­al. In rela­tion to men­tal health par­tic­u­larly, as one pro­fes­sion­al in Leeds put it, ‘If they didn’t have any men­tal health needs when they arrived then once they’re des­ti­tute for a while they will have.’

PAFRAS’s Men­tal Health Assess­ment and Refer­ral Ser­vice was estab­lished to provide a recov­ery-ori­ent­ated ser­vice based on the part­ner­ship with ser­vice users, volun­teers, stat­utory organ­isa­tions and com­munit­ies in Leeds. The core aims of our work are to:

  • facil­it­ate ser­vice users’ access to rel­ev­ant agen­cies and appro­pri­ate ser­vices,
  • facil­it­ate their inclu­sion in social life, and
  • enable them to retain or regain an ordin­ary life, rather than isol­ate them through exclus­ive involve­ment in spe­cial­ist Men­tal Health Ser­vices.

We offer the fol­low­ing ser­vices to sup­port the imme­di­ate men­tal health needs presen­ted by our cli­ents:

  • Weekly drop-in Ses­sions (screen­ings, assess­ments and refer­rals to appro­pri­ate men­tal health
    and sup­port ser­vices),
  • Crisis ana­lys­is with refer­ral and fol­low up to appro­pri­ate sup­port ser­vices,
  • Psy­cho-edu­ca­tion and inform­a­tion about dif­fer­ent avail­able ser­vices in Leeds,
  • Hol­ist­ic sup­port of ser­vice users, while they wait to access spe­cial­ized care from the NHS or vol­un­tary sec­tor organ­isa­tions such as Solace.