AustraliaRefugee sets self on fire at Manus Island amid 'mental health crisis'
Vic cops, ambos get mental health help
Victoria's police and ambulance staff will be among the first workers in the state to get extra mental health support under a pilot scheme. Victoria's police and ambulance workers will be among the first workers to get early mental health support under a pilot scheme introduced by the state government. Credit Cards Are Now Offering 0% Interest Until 2020 Find out more on Finder Ad Finder.com.au The 12-month pilot will cost $2.5 million and will allow Victoria Police and Ambulance Victoria to cover medical expenses like GPs, psychologists and medications while claims are assessed.
WARNING: The following story contains distressing details
A Somali refugee has set himself on fire on Manus Island, amid claims of a worsening mental health crisis at the detention centre.
The man, who is 31 according to fellow refugee Shamindan Kanapadhi, was not seriously injured on Monday morning when he set himself on fire at the East Lorengau compound in the detention centre on the Papua New Guinean island.
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Distressing photos show him doused in white foam from a fire extinguisher, his red T-shirt visibly burnt.
He was taken to the neighbouring Shamrock facility for refugees and asylum seekers who have self-harmed, according to advocate Ian Rintoul from the Refugee Action Coalition.
The facility was previously accommodating guards and police, but Mr Rintoul said it now housed 14 people who have self harmed or attempted suicide. It comes amidsince the federal election.
Pakistani refugee Samad Abdul, who is in PNG's capital, Port Moresby, said everyone in the centre had lost hope.
"We [were] never scared for our future before because hope was alive, but after May 18 every day is like a nightmare," he said.
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Mr Rintoul said it was increasingly difficult to keep track of the growing number of refugees and asylum seekers self harming. He claims there have been more than 50 instances on Manus island since the election, or more than 70 including those who are in Port Moresby for medical care.
Refugee Benham Satah said many of the men were "thinking about death every second".
"It's truly hard to explain it but I am sure it's more contagious than salmonella or typhoid," Mr Satah said on Monday.
Mr Rintoul claimed there was no medical care in Shamrock, which is under guard. Some men have also been sent back to their compounds after self harming and others were at the Pacific International Hospital in Port Moresby, he said.
The Department of Home Affairs noted that the Pacific International hospital in Port Moresby has a dedicated mental health ward.
A department spokesperson on Tuesday said the Australian government was working closely with PNG and Nauru to ensure the men have appropriate healthcare.
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"The Australian government is committed to supporting the governments of PNG and Nauru by providing specialist and wide‑ranging health, welfare and support services."
The department did not directly respond to the recent self harm claims or confirm Shamrock was housing some of the men.
Hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers remain in PNG, six years after being detained as "illegal" entrants to Australia.
The Human Rights Law Centre again called for refugees and asylum seekers to be evacuated from Manus and Nauru.
"We are seeing an increasingly dangerous situation unfolding in which men and women in the Australian government’s care are losing all hope," legal director Katie Robertson said in a statement on Tuesday.
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