People In Refugee Camps


A refugee camp is supposed to be a place to help and shelter victims of war or national disputes, but why is it that people within contemplate suicide? Take for instance the European Union and Turkey deal. Migrants were stuck in Moira, Greek Island of Lesvos. With that, the overpopulated island has caused suffering to the migrants (most of them with a family in there) with psychological, mental and physical health problems surfacing. There is not enough assistance to handle these issues.

The EU-Turkey Deal

Victims of hardship and persecution leave their country and attempt to find a place where they can stay and survive for the time being. But because of the EU-Turkey deal, migrants are forced to stay on an island. The EU-Turkey deal aided the refugees from Turkey to Europe forcing them to go back to their country, while waiting on an island. There are five islands intended for them, and the biggest one is Lesvos.

Moira Camp was once a military camp which is why it has tall fences. The island is good for only 2,500 people, but the migrants are 9000 people all in all. These number will not lessen until the asylum is approved.

The increase of migrants in Lesvos cannot be contained anymore because the people have nowhere to go. And the way of living, food, and health services are terrible issues. Violent situations are also rampant. It is like survival of the fittest in there.

Inside Moira Camp

What kind of life do the migrants lead in Moira Camp? Well, people live in iso-boxes – these are shipping containers converted into houses. Tents are available as well, while toilets and shower blocks were also installed. On food, they have to wait in line for so long to get the food supply. To process their asylum, they have to wait for days, and then, it’s not a guarantee. Asylum is a process that offers shelter and support for refugees. The approval process is tedious.

Access To Healthcare

Thousands of refugees, not enough supply of food and a non-conducive environment, that’s the situation in there. With that, illnesses are prone to migrants. There is no hospital on the island, so when they need medical assistance, they have to get a request slip to prove that they need to seek medical help.

Alma (not her real name) was seen by one of our Bosnian counselors, and was prescribed antidepressant medication as well as sleeping pills to help her get some relief from her restless and anxious nights. None of it helped. — Kenneth E. Miller Ph.D.

The island has a clinic that was made from a container van and divided into two rooms. Imagine how narrow and inconvenient it will be for the sick person. Their clinic only has one doctor, and the medical needs of the refugees are provided by different NGO’s, but is it enough? Of course not. According to reports, a person who is not attended to by a health provider in times of sickness will harm their mental health.

Because of the number of refugees, the volunteers cannot accommodate all of the sick persons. They also have limited supplies and things to help those in need.


Screams At Night

The mental health of the refugees is at stake. With their condition and way of living, their minds are vulnerable up to the extent that some are hopeless which then leads to suicide. Especially for those who experience bad things in their life like torture or rape, imprisonment can lead to a malfunction on their mental health. Some people cannot think appropriately because their heads are just floating on air. They don’t even present themselves to be diagnosed. If not treated properly, they are bound to get hurt.

Refugee children have had their communities disrupted—both those communities in their original home areas and the communities that form in the refugee camps where some families live for years and even decades, waiting for resettlement. — Lisa Aronson Fontes Ph.D.

Dissociative Episodes

This type of condition, seeking asylum and refuge – nowhere to go and no place to call home, a person will disconnect from the real world. Refugees with mental health problems experience this dissociation. They are hard to communicate with as these people imagine to the extreme and hallucinate. They get back to the time wherein they suffered the most. It’s like they’re reliving it again and again. The state of their minds is in chaos.

Torture And Rape

People in refugee camps with mental health disorders are often victims of rape, torture or bombing. These are traumatic experiences that affect how they live, think and interact. The state of their mind is very vulnerable, as well.


An Unsafe Environment

Refugees will not be healed because they are in an unsafe environment. Violence is rampant, and with that, their minds are always anxious, stressed and depressed.  Having a safe environment for rehabilitation is essential. If only it can be done, then, they will have a bit of peace.

Children Are The Most Affected

Most of the children in refugee camps have a mental health disorder. Their young minds are plagued with traumatic experiences, and it leaves scars on their young hearts and minds. It is an unfortunate fact.

 They don’t share a common language with the therapists; nor cultural values on what it means to seek psychological counseling. — Marianna Pogosyan Ph.D.

The Struggle

With the living condition in the island, those refugees will not heal totally. That is such a struggle. Violence cannot be stopped, and this affects their mental health very badly. Thanks to some NGO’s who attempts to help those people with their psychological and physical health needs, there is a bit of hope for all.

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