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Refugee wellbeing and worklessness
Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.
Rumi



In Australia asylum seekers and refugees are subjected to mandatory immigration detention for up to seven years whilst they await their refugee applications to be processed. Asylum seekers and refugees are prohibited to work and study whilst in detention. 

There is a clear association between prolonged and indefinite incarceration and psychological injury for asylum seekers and refugees (e.g. Green and Edgar, 2010; Johnston, 2009; RACGP). The compound effect of indeterminate mandatory detention and the inability to work unequivocally leads to detainees developing anxiety, depression, post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and psychosomatic illness. Pre-existing conditions such as PTSD are exacerbated by detention and result in acute mental illnesses, self-harm and repeated suicide attempts. 

There have been at least 10 men die by suicide in Australian immigration detention centres in the last five years.

Psychological injuries remain even after refugees receive visas and move into mainstream Australia. In addition to traumatic injuries sustained in their home country and in Australian immigration detention centres, newly arrived refugees face cultural, economic and social challenges when they arrive.

Entrepreneurial psychology has the power to commence to remediate the effects of the powerlessness and mental illnesses caused by these experiences. The model embraces the two core precepts central to mental healthcare for people with severe mental illness – social inclusion and recovery (UK Social Exclusion Unit, 2004).