Alarming mental health crisis among children trapped in Greece

More than 15,000 women, men, and children are still trapped in unsafe and humiliating conditions on the Greek islands. As this crisis continues, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) mental health teams on Lesbos and Samos are seeing alarming levels of mental health distress among our patients. “Last year, MSF treated 50 children with severe suicidal ideation, or even suicide attempts” says MSF mental health activity manager Katrin Glatz-Brubakk. “It’s really really painful to see these children when they live in conditions where there is absolutely no hope for them.”

We have warned repeatedly of the mental health emergency facing refugees and migrants trapped indefinitely in Greece. This emergency continues five months after the fires that destroyed Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesbos, and despite promises from the European Union (EU) that there will never be another Moria. Nevertheless, European states have maintained their harmful policy to contain people on these islands. MSF calls on the EU and Greek authorities to immediately move all asylum seekers, especially the most vulnerable, to safe accommodation.