23 Apr 2016

Aust Senate told returned Nauru children have a mental illness

2:25 pm on 23 April 2016

Nearly half of the children who were sent back to Australia after being held in a detention centre in Nauru have a mental illness, Australia's Senate has been told.

A Department of Immigration and Border Protection official told parliament that in February, 25 of the 54 children deported were diagnosed with mental disorders, depression and anxiety.

The children were part of the 267 asylum seekers and refugees who were taken back to Australia but may again be deported to Nauru.

The Guardian reports that 37 of the children were babies born in Australia but may be deported due to their parents' migration status.

A confidential report by detention health provider IHMS shows children in detention centres suffer from mental health disorder more severely than adults do.

Refugee Asylum Seekers children take part in protest on Nauru

Refugee children take part in protest on Nauru Photo: supplied