Media Release: 14 November 2017

The Australian Psychological Society (APS) is deeply concerned about the worsening humanitarian crisis for refugees detained on Manus Island.

Since the ‘Pacific Solution’ was first devised, Australian psychologists have expressed grave concerns about the mental health and human rights of asylum seekers detained on both Manus Island and Nauru. 

APS President Anthony Cichello said today, “Psychologists and other mental health professionals have been saying for years that the research is very clear – warehousing people in remote locations has a devastating impact on people’s mental health and wellbeing. The fiction that the 800 men on Manus Island can safely live there indefinitely cannot be sustained.” 

Cichello believes that immediate steps need to be taken to protect the health and wellbeing of the men on Manus, the majority of whose refugee claims have been accepted, but who face long waits at best before being resettled anywhere. 

“They urgently need clean water and healthy food, and access to medical and mental health services.  They need to be protected from danger and discrimination.  They also need to be able to make connections with family and friends.  Importantly, they need to be able to hope that a decent life is possible. 

“These men, along with the men, women and children still detained on Nauru, should be brought to Australia while their applications for asylum are being processed or while they are awaiting resettlement.”

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For more information, or to arrange an interview call Rebecca Matthews on 03 8662 3358 or 0435 896 444, or email media@psychology.org.au.  Find the APS Media team on Twitter:  @AustPsych.

The APS is the largest professional organisation for psychologists in Australia, representing more than 22,000 members. The APS is committed to advancing psychology as a discipline and profession. It spreads the message that psychologists make a difference to people’s lives, through improving psychological knowledge and community wellbeing.