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Many U.S. Asylum Seekers Depressed

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NEW YORK, Jun 17, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A study of inmates in the nation's immigration detention centers has found rising levels of depression and post-traumatic stress.

The report found a steady deterioration in the psychological well-being of asylum seekers over the months and years they were detained.

The victims of torture or persecution who are seeking political asylum in the United States are offered little access to counseling and other mental health services, according to the study, written by Physicians for Human Rights and the Bellevue-New York University Program for Survivors of Torture.

In the 2002 fiscal year, more than 9,000 asylum seekers were detained while awaiting adjudication of their claims.

The study is based on interviews with 70 asylum seekers in 2001 and 2002.

Officials at the Homeland Security Department told The New York Times it had just received the report and could not comment on its findings until it had been reviewed.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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