“What he hears is normal, it’s his fear”

Voices, trauma, life

  • ‘Hearing voices’ can occur in asylum seekers.
  • The voices may arise from traumas they suffered in the country they fled.
  • They may also arise from fears caused by the asylum system in the country they seek refuge in.
  • What the voices say can make sense, given what the person is going through.
  • Safety and community are central to mental health.

Asylum seekers on the Greek-Macedonian border

“Fear” writes Veronica Roth in Divergent, “doesn’t shut you down; it wakes you up”.†

But it may also awaken others within you.

I say this in the context of having just read a report on the effects of the asylum procedure on asylum seekers’ mental health.

The authors are clear that prolonged legal insecurity, the obligation to move from one center to another, and isolation, among other factors, contribute to mental health deterioration.

Trauma and hearing voices

It is well known that…

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