22 Sep 2005

Mental health assistance for Nauru asylum seekers too late says refugee advocate

6:55 pm on 22 September 2005

Two mental health experts are in Nauru to assess the health of the 27 asylum seekers being detained there as part of Australia's Pacific Solution.

Their visit, which was approved by the Australian Immigration Minister, Amanda Vanstone, comes amid reports of depression and self harm amongst the mostly Iraqi and Afghan detainees.

Paris Aristotle and Dr Ida Kaplan are part of the team which includes the former Australian immigration minister, John Hodges.

An advocate for the asylum seekers, Susan Metcalfe, says whilst she welcomes the move, it's come too little, too late.

"It's really only damage control that I can see that is possible in a circumstance like that. We've seen time and time again people coming out of long term detention with very serious and that's the case with Nauru, they come out and it is very difficult, and the longer they're there, the more difficult it makes the situation when they do come out."

An advocate for the asylum seekers, Susan Metcalfe.