Mental problems hit parentless child refugees

28th September 2005, Comments 0 comments

28 September 2005, BRUSSELS – Child refugees who travel to Belgium on their own are almost three times more likely to suffer from serious emotional problems, according to a new study.

28 September 2005

BRUSSELS – Child refugees who travel to Belgium on their own are almost three times more likely to suffer from serious emotional problems, according to a new study.

On Wednesday, Le Soir reported that among those young immigrants who come here with at least one parent, 15-20 percent of them suffer serious psychological problems.

But in the case of children who have travelled alone, 58 percent suffer post-traumatic stress, 47 percent show significant signs of depression and 45 percent experience serious symptoms of anxiety.

The results were taken from research carried out at the University of Ghent.

"It's the first time that a study has been carried out in the country into the emotional wellbeing of foreign minors who are not accompanied," said Doctor Ilse Derluyn, who carried out the investigation.

A total of 1,300 child refugees were interviewed in Belgium, among them 150 who were on their own.

Many were former child soldiers in Uganda who were trying to cross the English Channel to the UK, but were intercepted at Zeebrugge.

Derluyn said centres which received unaccompanied children found they often had drug problems and behaved aggressively.

Derluyn said her study showed the need for better psychological treatment of children in refugee centres, especially since once they were 18 most of them disappeared from official records.

Every year between 1,500 and 2,000 foreign minors arrive in Belgium and the state gives them legal protection until they are 18.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Belgian news

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