mental health conditions are known to be associated with homelessness. homelessness is known to be more common among refugees and asylum seekers, and in turn among people experiencing mental health problems [ 26, 27 ]. homeless asylum seekers are known to be more vulnerable to mental illness and exposure to abuse and exploitation, and are more likely to engage in risky health behaviours, including use of alcohol and drugs [ 28 ].
psychometric evidence indicates that the majority of the world’s adult population suffer from one or more mental disorders [ 29 ]. despite this prevalence, mental disorders are under-diagnosed, under-treated and under-researched [ 30 ]. studies that employed a psychiatric diagnosis in the formal classification of mental disorders found that 52% of individuals identified with some form of mental disorder [ 27 ].
a recent literature review identified that meditation has received increasing attention in the past 5 years due to a proliferation of evidenced-based studies documenting the use of mindfulness meditation as an intervention to manage a range of psychological health conditions [ 31 ]. mindfulness meditation is a component of the transcendental meditation program (tm-sidhi program) created by maharishi mahesh yogi. the program is described as a “relaxation-based meditation” that requires no special meditation skills to perform and no specialised equipment [ 32 ].
cultural norms and values that are associated with high rates of mental illness include: stigma associated with mental illness [ 33 ], shame, perceived inferiority and lack of control [ 34 ]. evidence regarding the mental health needs of refugees has been summarized in the mental health and long-term well-being of refugees and asylum seekers document [ 35 ], which noted that culturally inappropriate diagnostic practices are common in the assessment of refugees. a recent longitudinal study found that around one-quarter of refugees entering the host country suffered from mental illness at the time of arrival, although prevalence was significantly reduced within 3 months of resettlement [ 35 ].
the applicant’s asylum application should be accompanied by a completed asylum application form, i-589, by the applicant’s representative, if applicable, and by all relevant supporting documentation. the applicant should be present for any hearing involving a request for an interpreter, and be allowed to represent their claim; if the applicant is unable to appear, the applicant’s representative should be permitted to appear on behalf of the applicant. 81 for detention hearings, the application should include a witness statement of the applicant’s address, the length of the applicant’s detention, and the date of release. the ij must grant the applicant’s request for a reasonable adjournment to apply for deferred action for a temporary period of time. 82 the applicant may be represented by counsel, although applicants may apply for and receive a form on their own behalf to represent them in immigration proceedings. 83 in particular, notice of the hearing date and time must be given to the applicant at least five (5) days prior to the hearing date. the list of witnesses and forms to be provided to the applicant should be attached to the notice of hearing. the applicant has the right to request that his or her entire file be reviewed in advance of the hearing. the applicant should have an opportunity to review the evidence that will be relied upon by the government in its opposition, and to rebut this evidence.
removal proceedings are fundamentally different from deportation, detention or asylum proceedings. 84 in a removal hearing, an applicant for relief is barred from applying for asylum or withholding of removal. to remain in the country, the applicant must either leave voluntarily, or must be deported. 85 because asylum and withholding of removal are discretionary relief, the burden is on the applicant to establish eligibility. 86 an applicant for removal is required to show that he or she “is a refugee within the meaning of section 1101(a)(42)” of the ina. 87 the applicant must prove that (1) he or she is unable or unwilling to return to his or her country of origin due to past persecution or a “well-founded fear” of future persecution, and that (2) there is a reasonable possibility of suffering a “serious harm” upon return. 88 in removal proceedings, the applicant must prove that he or she is more likely than not to be tortured or persecuted. 89 these requirements are even more stringent than those imposed by an asylum proceeding.