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This conference will bring together scholars, activists, artists, policy makers and people with lived experience to explore and examine what it means to be a refugee in a particular place and how this can be relevant to mental health. We imagine place as a complex domain that can include risk factors such as neighbourhood violence, poor housing conditions and social isolation or protective and resilience factors such as community ties, gainful employment and therapeutic potential of green and recreational spaces. We will seek to understand how social, material, cultural, environmental, political and institutional dimensions and characteristics of places constitute and affect refugee mental health in a post-migration context.

Mental health remains a pressing issue for displaced people. Scholarship has recognised unequivocally the importance of pre- and post-migration factors, including flight and resettlement, for refugees’ mental health and wellbeing. Yet, increasingly hostile treatment of refugees is but one sign that the post-migration context does not guarantee the peace of mind and safety associated with refuge. As well as experiencing precarious and uncertain conditions until asylum is granted, refugees have the added challenge of adapting to a new sociocultural environment, which can be difficult because of structural racism, discrimination, and marginalisation. The role of place is salient given refugees have often little or no control over where they live and are more likely to experience the kind of adverse neighbourhood factors that have been more broadly associated with poor mental health. Furthermore, refugees can be isolated geographically because of dispersal policies which often entails providing people with accommodation in often impoverished and isolated areas of the country. All these factors have been linked to worse mental health outcomes and a decrease in quality of life for refugees.


As well as our incredible speakers, we are thrilled to welcome Maya Goodfellow to the programme. Maya will deliver a keynote presentation on "The roots and impacts of the hostile environment in Britain: racism, discrimination and disposability". Maya is author of the influential book "Hostile Environment: How immigrants became scapegoats" (


Please note that sessions will be recorded. Presentations (not participant discussions) will be uploaded to a new dedicated YouTube channel.

Conference Programme

Click here to download the conference programme.

The Refugee Mental Health and Place Network

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This work is supported by the Medical Research Council [grant number MR/S025510/1] as well as receiving support from the Centre for Society and Mental Health, an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Centre based at King’s College London [ES/S01256/1].