Mental Health and Wellbeing

Given the trauma people seeking asylum have gone through and continue to experience while waiting for a judgement on their case, it would be unusual not to experience low mood at some point. It is easy to feel uncomfortable emotions in response to hearing disturbing stories.

The key message is that emotional health is about how we think and feel. It is about our sense of wellbeing, our ability to cope with life events and how we acknowledge our own emotions, as well as those of others. It doesn’t mean being happy all of the time.

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Portal for Refugees & Asylum Seekers 

This is a resource for mental health and social care professionals, community organisations, statutory, international and national third sector organisations and refugees and asylum seekers themselves to access information, resources and practical tools produced by health care practitioners, international and national organisations and academic and research bodies with experience and expert knowledge of working with refugees and asylum seekers, both in the UK and internationally.

Some local initiatives which people seeking asylum can access for mental health support:

STEPS2WELLBEING (free NHS psychological therapy service) 3rd floor Greenville House, Nelson Road, Southampton SO15 1GX0800 612 7000 (self referrals)  or 02380 272000 (for information and cancellations) Website:  Email:

BOLOH (meaning ‘to speak or talk’ in Urdu and Hindi) – Barnardo’s Helpline
0800 151 2605
Webchat :
We can download posters in different languages

OPTIONS Wellbeing (free initial 20 min consultation. Funding available as necessary) 147 Shirley Road, Southampton SO15 3FH
02380 630219
Live chat:

SAMARITANS (charity aimed at providing free emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope or at risk of suicide) 11 College Place, London Road, Southampton S015 2FE
116 123 (free) 0330 094 5717 (local call charges apply)


SOLENT MIND (charity aimed at providing support and respect for everyone experiencing a mental health issue) 15-16 The Avenue, Southampton S017 1XF
02382 027810  (local call charges apply)
Website:  Email:

Talking Therapies 

Links to talking therapies available online or locally, should someone wish to pursue counselling for themselves.


Hampshire’s NHS talking therapies service 10 Leigh Rd, Eastleigh SO50 9FH  023 8038 3920

People need to be registered with a GP and speak English, but anyone can self-refer.


a phone app. (free). This is a national data base for mental health matters and services. It gives lots of information about different mental health issues including depression, anxiety, PTSD and many others. If you put in your town or post-code and the issues about which you are concerned, it signposts you to relevant services in your area.


02380 179049 – This is a support line (not counselling or therapy).  It offers a listening ear from people with lived experience of mental health issues and also can signpost you to relevant local services. 

SWVG handouts on aspects of wellbeing

Southampton City Council’s Library Service has books to help us look after our mental health and well-being. All the books are chosen and endorsed by health experts and include self-help reading to manage depression, stress and anxiety. There are also books about mindfulness and sleeping well. View a list of books available (May 2021). They are free to borrow with a library card. Apply for a library card here.

Other materials you may find useful:

Understanding PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)    MIND, 2021

Self Help Guide on Post Traumatic Stress also available ion an Easy Read version NHS 2020

Action for Child Health International have this useful guide to mental health support for children after conflict or disaster updated 2023

5 Steps to Mental Wellbeing from the NHS

Refugee Action’s 9th Information and Data Hub survey looked at client and staff mental health. Their bulletin presents data collected from 34 organisations working with people in the immigration system across England, Wales and Scotland and Northern Ireland. See website summaryInsights into client and staff mental health, or read their full Good Practice Guide sections 2.2. Client Mental Health and 2.3. Staff Mental Health.

Building Bridges:  Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Asylum Sector Migrant Help conference April 2021 resources. These include two keynote speeches with accompanying slides:
  • Visible Invisible
  • Race and Mental Health in 2020/21
 plus the slides from 3 workshops:
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing of Asylum Seekers
  • Supporting Victims of Trafficking within the Asylum System
  • Frontline Staff:Dealing with Vicarious Trauma

Steps2Wellbeing – Southampton and Dorset The Steps2Wellbeing service is provided by Dorset HealthCare, and provides NHS funded care for adults registered at a Dorset or Southampton City GP practice.

Steps to Wellbeing offers resources written for civil servants on stress, anxiety, depression and resilience.

Burnout and Self-efficacy briefings from Hampshire  Service’s Educational Psychology

The science behind Mindfulness Meditation

Sleeplessness – NHS advice  and

Working with Afghan Sanctuary Seekers: A guide for mental health professionals (2022) by Sohail Jannesari, Omid Khyber, Enayat Modasser, Tahmina Yousofi, Assiya Majgan Amini, Ramzia Akbari-Noor