About one third of men of Iranian or Iraqi background seeking asylum in Finland and Sweden have reported being tortured in their home country, according to the results of a joint study by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) and the Swedish branch of the Red Cross.
The researchers studied the health and well-being of men who had been tortured or suffered other traumas, and found that the experiences led to symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as perceptions of poorer health and quality of life.
"According to our study, people who had been tortured also felt lonelier and on their own, and they had more experiences of discrimination and trauma," said psychologist Ferdinand Garoff, a Senior Researcher at the THL.
THL research manager Anu Castaneda added that people who have been tortured may also feel guilt and shame because of the experience.
"Past events can make it difficult for them to trust the authorities or health professionals, which can make it difficult to apply for and receive help," Castaneda said.
Torture trauma can cause multiple mental, physical and social problems, and treatment often requires a multidisciplinary approach, the report found.