An exploration and critique of the use of mental health information within refugee status determination proceedings in the United Kingdom

An exploration and critique of the use of mental health information within refugee status determination proceedings in the United Kingdom

This study seeks to understand the composition, use and cultural orientation of mental health evidence within the UK’s refugee status determination (RSD) process. It responds to an increasing importance placed on considering evidence about asylum seekers’ mental health within RSD, and a lack of available information about when this evidence is requested and submitted, who is authorised to prepare it, and what it should include. Recognising the cultural heterogeneity of the asylum-seeking population in the UK, this research also explores the extent to which differences in cultural understandings of mental health are accommodated. This exploration provides insight into the construction of “truthful” or “valid” mental health information within RSD.

Therefore this study seeks to answer the following two research questions:

  • when, how, and for what purpose is mental health information gathered within RSD?
  • to what extent does the RSD process accommodate varying cultural understandings of mental health?

Analysing data gathered in response to these questions from a constructivist perspective reveals the decision makers’ understanding of “credible” and “veracious” evidence.

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