Refugees and asylum seekers arriving in Europe during the 2015/2016 wave of migration have been exposed to war conditions in their country of origin, survived a dangerous journey, and often struggled with negative reception in transit and host countries. The mental health consequence of such forced migration experiences is named the Ulysses syndrome. Policies regarding the right to residency can play an important role in reducing mental health symptoms. We propose that facilitating a sense of belonging should be seen as one important preventive mental healthcare intervention. A refugee mental health agenda needs to take into account the interplay between refugees’ and asylum seekers’ mental health, feeling of belonging, and access to healthcare. We urge for policies to restore individuals’ dignity, and recognize the right for homecoming to parallel the mythology of Ulysses.
Achotegui J. La depresión en los inmigrantes: una perspectiva transcultural. Barcelona: Ediciones Mayo; 2002.
Carta MG, Bernal M, Hardoy MC, Haro-Abad JM. Migration and mental health in Europe (the state of the mental health in Europe working group: appendix 1). Clin Pract Epidemiol Ment Health. 2005;1:13. doi:10.1186/1745-0179-1-13
Bianucci R, Charlier P, Perciaccante A, Lippi D, Appenzeller O. The "Ulysses syndrome": An eponym identifies a psychosomatic disorder in modern migrants. Eur J Intern Med. 2017;41:30-32. doi:10.1016/j.ejim.2017.03.020
Crawley H, Skleparis D. Refugees, migrants, neither, both: categorical fetishism and the politics of bounding in Europe’s ‘migration crisis.’ J Ethn Migr Stud. 2017:1-17. doi:10.1080/1369183X.2017.1348224
Slobodin O, de Jong JT. Mental health interventions for traumatized asylum seekers and refugees: What do we know about their efficacy? Int J Soc Psychiatry. 2015;61(1):17-26. doi:10.1177/0020764014535752
Baumeister RF, Leary MR. The need to belong: desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychol Bull. 1995;117(3):497-529.
Hagerty BM, Lynch-Sauer J, Patusky KL, Bouwsema M, Collier P. Sense of belonging: a vital mental health concept. Arch Psychiatr Nurs. 1992;6(3):172-177.
Hagerty BM, Williams RA, Coyne JC, Early MR. Sense of belonging and indicators of social and psychological functioning. Arch Psychiatr Nurs. 1996;10(4):235-244.
Turrini G, Purgato M, Ballette F, Nose M, Ostuzzi G, Barbui C. Common mental disorders in asylum seekers and refugees: umbrella review of prevalence and intervention studies. Int J Ment Health Syst. 2017;11:51. doi:10.1186/s13033-017-0156-0
Tribe RH, Sendt KV, Tracy DK. A systematic review of psychosocial interventions for adult refugees and asylum seekers. J Ment Health. 2017:1-15. doi:10.1080/09638237.2017.1322182
Neuner F, Kurreck S, Ruf M, Odenwald M, Elbert T, Schauer M. Can asylum-seekers with posttraumatic stress disorder be successfully treated? A randomized controlled pilot study. Cogn Behav Ther. 2010;39(2):81-91. doi:10.1080/16506070903121042
Tol WA, Barbui C, Bisson J, et al. World Health organization guidelines for management of acute stress, PTSD, and bereavement: key challenges on the road ahead. PLoS Med. 2014;11(12):e1001769. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001769
Razum O, Bozorgmehr K. Restricted entitlements and access to health care for refugees and immigrants: The example of Germany. Glob Soc Policy. 2016;16(3):321-324. doi:10.1177/1468018116655267
Schneider C, Joos S, Bozorgmehr K. Disparities in health and access to healthcare between asylum seekers and residents in Germany: a population-based cross-sectional feasibility study. BMJ Open. 2015;5(11):e008784. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-008784
Porter M, Haslam N. Predisplacement and postdisplacement factors associated with mental health of refugees and internally displaced persons: a meta-analysis. JAMA. 2005;294(5):602-612. doi:10.1001/jama.294.5.602
Steel Z, Silove D, Brooks R, Momartin S, Alzuhairi B, Susljik I. Impact of immigration detention and temporary protection on the mental health of refugees. Br J Psychiatry. 2006;188:58-64. doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.104.007864
Schock K, Rosner R, Knaevelsrud C. Impact of asylum interviews on the mental health of traumatized asylum seekers. Eur J Psychotraumatol. 2015;6:26286. doi:10.3402/ejpt.v6.26286
Bodegard G. Pervasive loss of function in asylum-seeking children in Sweden. Acta Paediatr. 2005;94(12):1706-1707. doi:10.1080/08035250510036778
Sondergaard HP, Kushnir MM, Aronsson B, Sandstedt P, Bergquist J. Patterns of endogenous steroids in apathetic refugee children are compatible with long-term stress. BMC Res Notes. 2012;5:186. doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-186
Ascher H, Hjern A. From apathy to activity: experiences of refugee children with severe withdrawal syndrome. In: Overland G, Guribye E, Lie B, eds. Nordic Work With Traumatised Refugees: Do We Really Care. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing; 2014. 102-118.
Lamkaddem M, Essink-Bot ML, Deville W, Gerritsen A, Stronks K. Health changes of refugees from Afghanistan, Iran and Somalia: the role of residence status and experienced living difficulties in the resettlement process. Eur J Public Health. 2015;25(6):917-922. doi:10.1093/eurpub/ckv061
de Jong JT, Berckmoes LH, Kohrt BA, Song SJ, Tol WA, Reis R. A public health approach to address the mental health burden of youth in situations of political violence and humanitarian emergencies. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2015;17(7):60. doi:10.1007/s11920-015-0590-0
Namer, Y., & Razum, O. (2018). Settling Ulysses: An Adapted Research Agenda for Refugee Mental Health. International Journal of Health Policy and Management, 7(4), 294-296. doi: 10.15171/ijhpm.2017.131
Yudit Namer; Oliver Razum. "Settling Ulysses: An Adapted Research Agenda for Refugee Mental Health". International Journal of Health Policy and Management, 7, 4, 2018, 294-296. doi: 10.15171/ijhpm.2017.131
Namer, Y., Razum, O. (2018). 'Settling Ulysses: An Adapted Research Agenda for Refugee Mental Health', International Journal of Health Policy and Management, 7(4), pp. 294-296. doi: 10.15171/ijhpm.2017.131
Namer, Y., Razum, O. Settling Ulysses: An Adapted Research Agenda for Refugee Mental Health. International Journal of Health Policy and Management, 2018; 7(4): 294-296. doi: 10.15171/ijhpm.2017.131