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    An embodied distress: African asylum seekers' experiences of mental health difficulties while awaiting an asylum outcome in Ireland.

    Murphy, Rebecca and Keogh, Brian and Higgins, Agnes (2021) An embodied distress: African asylum seekers' experiences of mental health difficulties while awaiting an asylum outcome in Ireland. Transcultural Psychiatry, 58 (2). pp. 239-253. ISSN 1363-4615

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    The mental health of asylum seekers has attracted significant interest and examination. Quantitative studies have consistently indicated that asylum seekers experience mental distress at a higher rate than both host populations and their refugee counterparts. Qualitative insight into asylum seekers’ embodied experience of mental distress is limited. This qualitative narrative study aimed to explore African asylum seekers’ everyday embodied experiences of mental distress. Sixteen semi-structured one-to-one interviews were conducted with African asylum seekers who had experienced mental distress and were receiving mental health care services in Ireland. Narrative data were analysed using a holistic analysis framework of narrative form and content. Participants described their everyday endurance of relentless rumination, shame, self-loathing, anger, and mistrust, and of becoming demoralised and hopeless. Study findings indicate that asylum seekers’ mental distress interweaves the physical, psychological, emotional, and social realms, thus impacting on the whole of their being. Consequences for asylum seekers include feeling anaesthetised, having a severely diminished capacity to connect and interact with their external surroundings and other people, and, for some, efforts to end their life. Examinations of, and responses to, asylum seekers’ mental distress must delve beyond the confines of diagnostic categorisations and codifications of symptomology. To achieve heightened understanding and efficacious interventions, we must empathetically listen and engage with asylum seekers’ narratives of distress and the socio-cultural and sociopolitical context they inhabit.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: asylum seeker; mental health; pre-migratory trauma; post-migratory trauma; qualitative;
    Academic Unit: Assisting Living & Learning,ALL institute
    Faculty of Science and Engineering > Psychology
    Item ID: 16376
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Rebecca Murphy
    Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2022 11:26
    Journal or Publication Title: Transcultural Psychiatry
    Publisher: SAGE Publications
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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