“Nadie está preparado para escuchar lo que vi” : atención de salud mental de refugiados y solicitantes de asilo en Chile
This article analyzes the results of a descriptive, qualitative study carried out in 2018 on the mental healthcare needs of Latin American refugees and asylum seekers in Chile, through the perspectives of refugees and asylum applicants (n=8), healthcare professionals responsible for delivery of care (n=4), and members of civil society organisations involved in this area (n=2). Our findings indicate that despite Chile’s commitment to international treaties in this regard, little has been achieved in safeguarding the right to access to mental health care, understood as part of the universal right to health care access. This article documents barriers to mental health care access for migrants applying for asylum and refugee status. Post-migration stress factors may also increase the risk of emotional disorders within this group of people. Mental healthcare providers and teams are often not equipped with the tools to deal with the psychological consequences arising from the situations of violence and persecution associated with forced migration. Our study discusses the need to strengthen the link between mental health care – as a fundamental human right – and the right to international protection.