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Manus Mental Health Crisis, more refugees attempt suicide

After almost six years of torture and uncertainty on Manus Island, the mental health crisis among refugees and asylum seekers is becoming more acute.

While the Iraqi refugee who was left on the cement floor of a police cell, after attempting to hang himself was eventually transferred to hospital in Port Moresby on Thursday 2 May, there has been no treatment for other refugees in mental distress.

The Somali refugee who overdosed on 1 May has been returned, unsupervised, from the Lorengau hospital emergency room to the East Lorengau refugee compound. The 23 year old had been left on a makeshift trolley bed in the emergency room of the Lorengau hospital (photos attached) for the duration of his stay at the hospital. (In a shocking, traumatic experience, on the night of 1 May, a local girl, a suicide victim, died in the emergency room on the bed next to him.)

On Saturday night (4 May) a 32 year-old Sudanese refugee overdosed, and was found vomiting in his room in East Lorengau. He has being held without treatment in the same emergency room as the Somali refugee who overdosed last week.

Yesterday (Sunday 5 May), a 25 year-old Iraqi refugee at the East Lorengau compound was prevented from setting himself alight after dousing himself with petrol. Other refugees in the compound have serious concerns about his welfare as he remains suicidal, but confined to the East Lorengau compound without help, and has completely socially withdrawn.

“The epidemic of suicide attempts among refugees on Manus is profoundly concerning,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition, “Refugees who are owed protection by Australia have been left without hope. Offshore detention is costing them their mental health and their lives.

“There is an urgent need to evacuate Manus Island and Nauru, and bring all refugees and asylum seekers to Australia.”


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