Time to examine a system harming the health of both detainees and detention centre staff
On 29 July this year, Commonwealth Ombudsman Allan Asher confirmed that his office would undertake an investigation into suicide and self-harm in Australian immigration detention facilities.1 The investigation will examine rates of suicide and self-harm relative to those in the broader Australian community, and factors such as length of time in detention and the design of mental health services for detainees.
- 1. Commonwealth Ombudsman. Inquiry to examine suicide and self-harm in immigration detention [media release] 29 Jul 2011. http://www. ombudsman.gov.au/media-releases/show/189 (accessed Aug 2011).
- 2. Dudley M. Contradictory Australian national policies on self-harm and suicide. Australas Psychiatry 2003; 11 Suppl 1: S102-S108.
- 3. Iggledon T. Skyrocketing self-harm rates spark detention inquest. ABC News, 29 Jul 2011. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-07-28/inquiry-into-asylum-seeker-mental-health/2815022 (accessed Aug 2011).
- 4. Hawton K, van Heeringen K. Suicide. Lancet 2009; 373: 1372-1381.
- 5. Procter NG. Providing mental health support for protection visa applicants in Australian immigration detention: partnering mental health and migration law consultation. Psychiatry Psychol Law 2011; 18: 460-465.
- 6. Green JP, Eagar K. The health of people in Australian immigration detention centres. Med J Aust 2010; 192: 65-70. <MJA full text>
- 7. Robjant K, Hassam R, Katona C. Mental health implications of detaining asylum seekers: systematic review. Br J Psychiatry 2009; 194: 306-312.
- 8. Silove D, Austin P, Steel Z. No refuge from terror: the impact of detention on trauma affected refugees seeking asylum to Australia. Transcult Psychiatry 2007; 44: 359-393.
- 9. Taylor P. Pressure builds on Immigration to weed out asylum trouble-makers. The Australian 2011; 30 Jul. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/pressure-builds-on-immigration-to-weed-out-asylum-trouble-makers/story-fn59niix-1226104589959 (accessed Aug 2011).
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