27 May 2014

Concerns about asylum seeker in Pacific

7:33 am on 27 May 2014

Psychiatrists say a new report showing high rates of distress and mental health problems in Australia's asylum seeker camps should ring alarm bells.

The report was presented to the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists and is based on data collected by International Health and Medical Services.

That firm is contracted to look after the health of asylum seekers in the camps, including those on Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manus Island.

The Professor of Psychiatry at Monash University Louise Newman says the figures show the uncertain environment in offshore centres to be particularly stressful and she says the figures are unsurprising.

"They find that mental health deteriorates related to time spent in detention and again it raises the issues within the system of detention about our treatment and management of really high risk population groups."

Professor Louise Newman of Monash University