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A humanitarian crisis, but not in the way you think

22 September 2022
Volume 31 · Issue 17

Certain media sources would have you believe that the UK is over-run by people seeking asylum, with headlines such as ‘10,000 already this year!’ There are stories claiming that people seeking asylum in the UK are coming to ‘take our jobs’, while others imply that people come purely because of the apparently irresistible benefits system and desire to ‘scrounge’ (note the absence of crucial context within the stories, ie that these are people fleeing their country due to danger and/or risk to life). I have even seen a story raging about an asylum-seeking family being housed in a four-bedroom house, and watched footage on social media of people arriving on UK shores being met with shouts of ‘go back to where you came from’. It is difficult to articulate how deeply saddened and ashamed this made me feel.

These stories are not only incredibly damaging to entire communities who need support, and who already face several barriers and stigmatisation when trying to access healthcare services, but they are also untrue. What is perhaps more frightening is that some people believe them.

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