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Open AccessArticle

Upon Rejection: Psychiatric Emergencies of Failed Asylum Seekers

University Hospital of Psychiatry, 3008 Bern, Switzerland
Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, and JARA-Translational Brain Medicine, RWTH Aachen University, 52074 Aachen, Germany
Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, De Crespigny Park, London SE5 8AF, UK
Department of Emergency Medicine, Inselspital, University Hospital Bern, Freiburgstrasse, 3010 Bern, Switzerland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(7), 1498;
Received: 18 June 2018 / Revised: 6 July 2018 / Accepted: 14 July 2018 / Published: 16 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refugee, Migrant and Ethnic Minority Health)
Background: The status of a refugee or asylum seeker is only recognised after legal processes. The uncertainty of these procedures or the rejection itself may severely impact mental well-being. Methods: We surveyed the patterns of psychiatric services used by patients whose applications for asylum had been rejected. In a retrospective investigation of admissions to the University Emergency Department in Bern, Switzerland between 1 March 2012 and 28 February 2017, we studied patients receiving a psychiatric consultation after their applications had been rejected. The primary endpoint was based on the comparison of these individuals with controls who were asylum seekers with pending asylum applications using the Mann-Whitney U test and the chi-square test (χ2) with a significance level of 0.05. Results: Thirty-eight cases were identified. There were more men than women and the mean age was 30.08 ± 9.62 years. Patients predominantly presented as walk-in patients (n = 16, 42.1%), most frequently due to suicidal ideation (n = 16, 42.1%). Stress-related disorders were the most common diagnosis (n = 29, 76.3%) and patients were mainly referred to inpatient treatment (n = 28, 73.7%). Patients with rejected applications were less likely to be living in reception centres than patients with a pending application (χ2 = 17.98, p < 0.001). Conclusion: The profile of asylum seekers whose applications had been rejected reflects individuals with high-stress levels, potentially aggravated by the negative asylum decision. View Full-Text
Keywords: failed asylum seekers; psychiatric emergency services; psychiatric hospitalisation; acute stress failed asylum seekers; psychiatric emergency services; psychiatric hospitalisation; acute stress
MDPI and ACS Style

Schoretsanitis, G.; Bhugra, D.; Eisenhardt, S.; Ricklin, M.E.; Srivastava, D.S.; Exadaktylos, A.; Walther, S. Upon Rejection: Psychiatric Emergencies of Failed Asylum Seekers. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1498.

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