Section: Long-term

Centres to provide mental health treatment to migrants suffering from severe trauma.

Case study

Since 1985, the Swedish Red Cross has run treatment centres for vulnerable migrants living in Sweden. The treatment is for migrants who have suffered trauma linked to torture, armed conflict or difficult or dangerous migration journeys. At these specialized centres, professional teams of physicians, psychologists, psychotherapists, physiotherapists, social workers and interpreters work closely with the migrants to help them work through their traumas. There are centres in Skellefteå, Uppsala, Stockholm, Skövde, and Malmö with a total of ~60 staff. Patients are usually referred to the centres by other health facilities, including primary health care, as the National Society is seen as a leading specialist in the area in Sweden. Once an individual arrives in search of care, they are interviewed to determine whether they are eligible for and willing to receive support. Once patients are accepted they are provided therapy based on need, with a variety of methods available. Duration of treatment varies from a few months to several years.

Other examples
Assessment of impact and reach

The Centre provided treatment to ~1,600 individuals in 2015.

Cost per beneficiary
$100 +
Alignment with policy

Design. [P1] Focuses on the vulnerabilities of victims of torture or trauma. [P4] Recognizes the right to receive mental health support in the case of severe trauma.

  • There are a lot of people who need this type of treatment, but Sweden lacks the resources to deal with them all.
  • It is difficult to reach people who live far from the centres, particularly as the asylum system places many people in remote areas.
Lessons learned
  • It is important to have structures in place to retain staff, since they are the main body of knowledge and expertise for the centres.
For more information, please contact: