A Tide of Self-Harm and Depression: The EU-Turkey Deal’s devastating impact on child refugees and migrants

The degrading conditions on the Greek islands as a result of the European Union’s agreement with Turkey one year ago have led to an alarming rise in self-harm, increased aggression, anxiety and depression among child
refugees and migrants, a new report by Save the Children has revealed.

A Tide of Self-Harm and Depression details the impact of the appalling conditions created by the agreement – which has forced thousands of families and more than 5,000 children to live in detention-like facilities.

The report paints a disturbing picture of how these conditions are undermining the mental health and general well-being of children. Incidents of self-harm in children as young as nine are growing, with mothers finding self-inflicted scars on their children's hands while bathing them. Some children as young as 12 have even attempted suicide – and in one case claiming to have filmed the event – in response to seeing others do so.
There has also been a spike in drug and alcohol abuse amongst teenagers in the camps who are trying to escape their painful realities, a vulnerability which dealers are exploiting. Children have been caught up in violent protests, have seen dead bodies in the camps, have spent winter in flimsy
tents or even slept in car parks, have been denied an education, and have lost all of their belongings in fires.

Save the Children is calling on the EU and Greek government to take immediate action to end the unlawful and unjustified detention of child refugees and migrants; decongest the islands and move children and families to safe environments; create more accommodation options for 2,100 particularly vulnerable unaccompanied children and immediately transfer children with mental health issues to places where they can access specialised care and
support.

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