Rationale: The 21st century has seen vast flows of displaced people. In the year 2020 alone, an estimated 11.2 million were forcibly displaced as a result of persecution, conflict or generalized violence. The torment and fear of war, persecution and threat to life, whether in the home country, during the process of fleeing, or in the post-migration host country, can be extremely traumatic to these marginalized populations. Hong Kong is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, but the territory has signed the 1967 UN(CAT) which requires the former colony to allow people who flee for their lives to have their cases processed in Hong Kong. Currently there are around 14,000 cases in Hong Kong, some of whom have been in Hong Kong for more than a decade, waiting for their claims to be processed, living on meagre government subsidies and with no right to work.
Objectives: The paper examines the mental health of asylum-seekers and refugees in Hong Kong and the factors associating with their mental health.
Method: A sequential mixed methods approach was conducted among asylum-seekers and refugees in Hong Kong between October 2019 and mid-2020. It comprised a pilot quantitative survey conducted with 47 participants, and follow-up qualitative interviews with 16 of the 47 participants. Survey results were analyzed using statistical measures while the qualitative in-depth interviews were thematically analyzed to identify emergent patterns and categories.
Results: Results from the quantitative data identify 52.2% of the asylum-seekers taking part as having symptomatic anxiety, 55.3% as having symptomatic depression and 54.3% as having overall problems. Qualitative results show that asylum-seekers and refugees cited lack of work and poverty as key factors affecting their mental health and well-being. Fear of being sent home was expressed by respondents who were married or having children for the fear of being separated from each other. Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
CitationNg, I., Chung, J. W. Y., Choi, S. F. Y., & Yan, V. C. M. (2023). Self-perceived mental health and factors associated with the mental health of Hong Kong's asylum-seekers and refugees: A mixed methods study. Heliyon, 9(2). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2023.e13481
- Mental health
- Asylum seekers
- Hong Kong