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GREECE/2017/Breathing Fresh Air in Solitary Confinement


This series of photographs highlight the challenges for the refugees suffering from mental health issues, as well as illustrate their resilience as they cope with the EU’s complex, ever-changing and punitive asylum system.

Men, women and children have arrived on Greek shores fleeing from war and conflict. Just like us, they long to be free of fear, and lead safe, normal and productive lives.

Some of those who arrive are extremely traumatized, and their mental state often shows scars, but it takes a specialized medical professional to recognize their severe condition. Too often their terrible ordeal is overlooked during the asylum process, thus blocking their access from the islands to the mainland to receive adequate treatment and safety.

Currently, the asylum process is opaque and living conditions can be terrible for those people in limbo for over a year as they wait to hear the outcome of their cases, with their futures at risk for detention and deportation.

MSF has noticed an increase in suicidal thoughts and incidents of self-harm, as well as emotions of anger, frustration, loss, grief, depression, passivity and hopelessness in the general population, and often exacerbated with those most vulnerable.

The reportage raise visibility about the lives of those refugees suffering from mental health issues – on the islands, inside camps on the mainland and in Athens itself – showing the challenges they face, but importantly, individual resilience in overcoming these daily. Finally, it denounces the consequences of the EU’s current migration policies on human lives.
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