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Worklessness and psychosocial illness

Curving back within myself I create again and again.

The Bhagavad Gita

'Work' has never been possible for asylum seekers and refugees held in protracted and indefinite detention.

A UK review of the British working-age found that long-term worklessness is one of the greatest known risks to public health. 

The significant links between mental illness and workless include

- Workless people having up to ten times more episodes of anxiety and depression than their working peers (Waddell & Burton, 2006)

- Prolonged unemployment reduces life expectancy more than many 'killer diseases' (Waddell and Alylward, 2005)

- Suicide rates in young men who have been workless for more than six months is increased 40 x (Wessely, 2004) and are increased 6x in the general population (Bartley et al, 2005).

Louise drew upon on her entrepreneurial-psychology methodology whilst working with Persian, Iraqi, Tamil, Kurdish, Afghani, Palestinian and Burmese refugees and asylum seekers in immigration detention.


Whilst on Christmas Island and in Curtin Detention Centre (Derby, WA) she utilised components of the entrepreneurial-psychology methodology to instigate self-help groups, including creating 'Refugees Anonymous' which based on the  12-Step model.  The daily groups were attended by up to 35 culturally and socially diverse men, enabled free expression and assisted to form a sense of unity, which helped to mitigate the effects of powerlessness and sickness caused by indefinite detention.