Last reviewed 11 May 2022
During Mental Health Awareness Week, which is taking place from 9 to 15 May 2022, NHS England (NHSE) is raising awareness of mental health in people fleeing conflict.
An NHSE website blog, Mental Health Tips for People Fleeing Conflict, stresses the importance of first looking after the mental health and wellbeing of people who have arrived in a new country after having experienced and witnessed terrible things and second remembering that the NHS is there for those who need more help.
NHSE gives tips that may be helpful for managing fear and anxiety, which are inevitable responses to the situation and for helping to support children, some of whom may experience problems with sleeping, thoughts and memories of what has happened, irritability or feeling low. These difficulties may not always be visible to others.
Authors of the blog, the NHSE Associate National Clinical Director for Children and Young People’s Mental Health, Professor Prathiba Chitsabesan and the NHSEI Clinical Advisor and Clinical Lead, Dr Idit Albert, advised that the easiest way to access the NHS is to register with a GP surgery.
They confirmed that everyone has a right to register with a GP and do not need proof of address, immigration status, ID or an NHS number to do so, which means a GP can offer them medical advice, prescribe medicines and refer them to other specialist services if required.
People can also attend the Accident and Emergency Department if they have immediate concerns about risk and safety that cannot wait. Alternatively there are 24/7 urgent mental health helplines available across the country for anyone who needs support. People can call for themselves or a loved one.
The page lists a number of resources that may also be helpful, such as information on how to access NHS mental health services, the Better Health Every Mind Matters campaign, which provides helpful tips for parents and children and the YoungMinds Parents Helpline, available for parents, guardians and carers on 0808 802 5544.
Samaritans is also available to contact free on 116 123 at any time of the day or night.