Background: As of 2016 over 41,000 asylum-seekers lived in the State of Israel, after escaping from their country of origin due to persecution, civil war and political and social oppression. Many experienced traumatic events at various stages of the immigration process, such as kidnapping, torture, sexual violence and human trafficking en route to Israel and additional traumas following arrival in Israel. As expected, many asylum-seekers and refugees are prone to a variety of mental illnesses that require clinical attention. Methods: Retrospective chart study based on systematic data collection of the patient population that sought psychiatric treatment during 2014-2015 in the Gesher Clinic, a specialized free clinic sponsored by the Israel Ministry of Health that catered to asylum-seekers and victims of human trafficking in Tel Aviv-Jaffa. Results: Two hundred and seventy-one patient files were examined. Psychiatric diagnoses included PTSD, adjustment disorder, psychotic spectrum disorders, depression, with various comorbid physical complaints. A range of demographic and clinical correlations were revealed including a higher rate of PTSD among younger patients, men, and victims of human trafficking, torture or smuggling. Most patients who required hospitalizations were admitted involuntarily. Conclusions: The plight of asylum-seekers in Israel warrants improved community mental health treatment for this population, e.g., culturally sensitive communication, focused treatment and follow-up services to promote an effective continuum of treatment.
|Number of pages
|Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences
|Published - 2021