Over 40 pct. of Syrian refugees have psychological problems

Syrian asylum seekers (Photo: Mstyslav Chernov/Wikimedia Commons). (Syrian asylum seekers (Photo: Mstyslav Chernov/Wikimedia Commons))

More than 40 percent of Syrian refugees in te Netherlands have psychological problems like depression and anxiety, according to a study by social and cultural planning office SCP. Despite these problems, they make little use of mental health care. The SCP spoke to 44 thousand Syrians who were given refugee status in the Netherlands between January 2014 and July 2016, ANP reports. 

The percentage of Syrian refugees with mental health problems is much higher than the average in the Netherlands. "Among the general population in the Netherlands, this percentage is around 13 percent", the SCP said. "Syrian refugees, however, make much less use of mental health care than the general population."

According to the researchers, most refugees went through a trip full of hardships before arriving in the Netherlands. "The refugees who fled over land spent an average of one year on their way to the Netherlands. A quarter of those who fled (partly) over land say that they slept outside and usually had insufficient food and clean drinking water", the SCP said. "In addition, three quarters were victims of abuse, extortion or shipwreck. Three quarters of refugees never felt safe during their flight to the Netherlands."

Around 83 percent of the Syrian refugees used human traffickers to help them flee. The overwhelming majority of this group had to go into debt to pay for the crossing.

More than 75 percent of Syrian refugees in the Netherlands told the SCP that they feel at home in the country. On average they score their lives here 8.5 out of 10. 93 percent expect to still live in the Netherlands after five years, if they can't return to Syria. A fifth would return to Syria if that was possible. Over half don't want to go back, and a quarter don't know yet. 

A tenth of Syrian refugees met their civic integration obligation. Eight out of 10 said they are following a language course. Only 7 percent aren't doing so. The rest already completed their language course. 

The SCP also found that about a fifth of Syrian refugees in the Netherlands have a diploma in higher education. Almost a third only attended primary school. 78 percent do not have a paid job.