Seeking asylum in Bristol: insights into psychological needs and resilience

Charlotte Flothmann, Daphne Josselin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


The purpose of this paper is to share research findings on the lived experiences of asylum seekers in Bristol (UK), with a particular focus on psychological needs and sources of resilience. The study was designed following the principles of action research and was carried out in three phases involving nine co-researchers. Thematic analysis was used to interpret the resulting data, collected through semi-structured interviews. The findings highlight challenges which are faced by asylum seekers after migrating to the UK and indicate how these do not allow for psychological needs to be met, undermining resilience. Co-researchers indicated that aspects of the asylum system were perceived as unfair, adding to existing losses and promoting fear. Strength was found through engaging with communities and religious practices. The research suggests that asylum seekers feel misrepresented and misunderstood within the public realm and raises serious questions around the current asylum legislation. It offers practitioners insight into key determinants for psychological well-being from the perspective of asylum seekers, providing suggestions for sensitive and appropriate interventions. The study offers original insights into asylum seekers’ experiences, with a specific focus on Bristol. The use of action research and the involvement of asylum seekers as co-researchers are also noteworthy, as collaborative research is scarce in this field
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-180
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2021


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