In Europe, and therefore in Belgium too, the topic of migration appears in the news on a daily basis, and this has been the case for many years now. The climate of insecurity prevailing in the Middle East and the war in Syria have led vast numbers of citizens to take to the roads in the hope of fleeing what have become unbearable situations. While the majority of these people have sought refuge in neighbouring countries, migration flows are also heading towards Europe.
In compliance with the Geneva Convention, Belgium, like other European countries, is taking a portion of these exiles into its territory. They file an application for asylum, and if this is accepted they are granted refugee status.
To experience exile is to leave your home, to experience separation and mourning, it is to undergo the traumatising ordeals of the journey (in addition to those which led to the exile) and to feel like an outsider in a host country, to feel ostracised. As a consequence, many newcomers show signs of psychological difficulties: anxiety, depression, guilt, loneliness, post-traumatic stress symptoms, difficulty managing grief, loss of cultural bearings and identity crises, loss of social status and difficulty in finding their place and planning for the future. Certain categories of people, such as unaccompanied minors, are at risk of additional suffering.
It is important that people having psychological difficulties are supported, so that they can find some respite and stability before getting back on their feet to make a success of integrating into our society.