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Refugees Who Have Experienced Extreme Cruelty: A Qualitative Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing after Being Granted Leave to Remain in the UK

Prof Cornelius Katona
Lauren Rowley, Nicola Morant
Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies


This study explores how vulnerable refugees’ experiences in the first year after being granted leave to remain in the UK impact on mental health and wellbeing.

Nine semi-structured interviews were conducted with refugee survivors of extreme cruelty. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis with a narrative influence. Reported challenges included requirements to organize housing, finances and welfare benefits rapidly.

Most respondents reported low mood, worry, exacerbated PTSD symptoms, physical ailments and isolation, but valued stable housing, meaningful activities, emotional support and service provider sensitivity in managing this transition.

Policy and service recommendations are made, to assist integration and improve wellbeing.