Social support is a core determinant of health and plays a key role in the healing process of people with mental health problems and those who have been exposed to torture or other traumatic events. At the same time, social support is particularly challenging to build in such populations, as self-isolation and social withdrawal are common consequences of traumatic incidents. Defining social support is also challenging as there is no globally adequate definition. The aim of this study was to explore how social support was understood by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) beneficiaries, and how they perceived their needs on Lesvos Island, Greece to be met.
This was a qualitative study, based on exploratory free-listing interviews that explored how MSF beneficiaries on Lesvos understood and defined social support, followed by a series of in-depth interviews through which participants explained how they perceived their needs to be met. The study was conducted over a period of two weeks in August 2018, with 32 migrants and asylum seekers (22 male, 10 female) enrolled in the mental health services of MSF on Lesvos Island. The majority of interviewees were single men of African origin who had resided in Moria camp between 2 months and 2.5 years. Countries of origin include Syria, Afghanistan, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, Senegal and other West African countries.
This research was supported by the UK Department for International Development’s Operational Research Capacity Building Programme led by the International Union Against TB and Lung Disease (The Union)
Episkopou M, Venables E, Whitehouse K, Eleftherakos C, Zamatto F, de Bartolome Gisbert F, Severy N, Barry D, Van den Bergh R. In island containment: a qualitative exploration of social support systems among asylum seekers in a mental health care programme on Lesvos Island, Greece. Conflict and Health. 2019 Dec 22;13(1):34.
In island containment: a qualitative exploration of social support systems among asylum seekers in a mental health care programme on Lesvos Island, Greece