Asylum seekers stuck in Greece suffering widespread mental health issues, reports International Rescue Committee

ATHENS — Refugees and immigrants from Asia and Africa continue to flow into Greece in search of safety and economic security, despite many of those who make it being caught in legal limbo on Greek islands for years.

A recent report published by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) details how immigration policies in the European Union have resulted in thousands of asylum seekers trapped on the Greek islands, many of whom are suffering from mental health related issues as a result.

According to the report, one in three people in refugee camps in Greece has thought of committing suicide and one in five have tried to do so, either before arriving in Greece or during their time in the camps.

Five years after the establishment of refugee centers such as Moria Camp in Lesbos, approximately 15,000 people are still stuck in Greece in often dangerous living conditions, lacking sufficient water, sanitation, shelter, and decent services such as health care, education, and legal aid.

The IRC report also stated that since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and the first lockdown in March, they have witnessed a 71% increase in the number of people suffering from mental health issues with the percentage of those contemplating self-harm increasing by 66%.