Migrants and refugees are suffering from mental health issues during pandemic, WHO says

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(CNN) - More than half of refugees and migrants surveyed reported increased “depression, anxiety, and loneliness” caused by COVID-19, according to a survey from the World Health Organization that was put out on Friday.

In addition, one in five refugees and migrants surveyed reported increased drug and alcohol use.

The survey, compiled in a report titled Apart Together, was conducted by the WHO and a research consortium led by Ghent University and the University of Copenhagen. The survey accessed 30,000 migrants and refugees in almost every WHO member state.

Refugees and migrants reported high compliance rates with some measures of virus prevention, like hand washing and wearing face coverings. However, nearly 20% said they were unable to comply with stay-at-home measures, and more than 15% were unable to avoid public transport.

Twelve percent of those surveyed reported current symptoms they believed to be linked to COVID-19. Of those who reported being unable to access medical care if they had symptoms, 35% said they lacked the money to seek health care and 22% said they feared deportation if they accessed medical care.

“Access to care must not be linked to legal status,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a briefing discussing the report’s findings. “We call on all countries to remove financial and other barriers to care for migrants as part of their journey towards universal health coverage. Health for all means all – including migrants.”

This story was first published on CNN.com, "Migrants and refugees are suffering from mental health issues during pandemic, WHO says"