War, human trafficking and extreme poverty are some of the appalling experiences to which refugees are exposed, both before and during their flight. Experiences akin to these put those affected prone to mental illness, even years afterwards. If that weren’t enough, after arriving in Germany, refugees are often compelled to live in conditions which trigger further mental stress.
A group of doctors headed by Hannelore Ehrenreich at the Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine has now demonstrated that each further risk issue puts additional strain on the psychological health of younger refugees.
The consequences are functional deficits and behavioural problems, which may be expressed as aggressive and legal behaviour later in life. It’s therefore much more vital to provide care and help for refugees, and to supply them the chance to interrupt out of the spiral of unfavourable experiences.
Traumatic experiences, bodily and sexual abuse, consumption of hashish and alcohol, dwelling in cities: these are all components which enhance the danger of a person developing mental issues.
If an individual is subjected to several of these risk elements together before the age of 20, she or he is extra likely to exhibit aggressive and legal behaviour later in life.
This observation from previous research headed a crew of Göttingen researchers to take a better look at a specific risk group: young refugees, who usually experience traumatic events not simply of their home nation and through their flight, but also face mentally demanding conditions after their arrival in Germany.