Refugees' uncertain future

It may be three years after the height of Europe's refugee “crisis" but thousands of men, women and children remain in overcrowded and dangerous conditions. Their plight has brought Lena Headey back to the island of Lesvos, Greece, where the International Rescue Committee's mental health team in Moria helps refugees and asylum seekers who are unprotected, unsupported and uncertain about their future.

This life in limbo has taken its toll. Among people the IRC has supported in Moria, six in ten have told us they have considered suicide. And almost thirty percent have attempted suicide, whether on Lesvos or before they arrived.

Moria is unsafe for everyone—but especially for women and girls. Half of the people the IRC has supported in the reception centre have experienced some form of sexual violence or abuse.

Refugees and asylum seekers on Lesvos are living in unacceptable conditions. Leaders in Europe and around world must step up to ensure that everyone who is fleeing war or persecution feels safe and welcome.

Join us and follow Lena's journey as she learns more about the situation on Lesvos.

Lena's journey

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This is Moria, formerly an army camp, it’s now a reception centre. It’s where people are processed once they arrive on the island of Lesvos. More than 5,000 people are currently stuck here. Its capacity is 3,000. Just before Christmas, there were 9,000 residents. The majority of people who arrive for their appointments have experienced unthinkable violence, they have been raped, tortured or seen their families torn apart by war. It’s overcrowded, there’s a lack of sanitation, running water is often shut off, food queues are three hours, hunger and claustrophobic queuing results in violence, some residents starve instead of facing the food line, toilets are avoided after dark with women too frightened to use them. Amongst the people @theIRC @IRCEurope has supported, 60% have considered suicide with 30% having attempted it. Just six psychologists operate inside the camp, sharing one container, making it impossible to give private sessions to people who desperately need mental health support.

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How the International Rescue Committee is helping

The IRC works to ensure that people can receive care and manage treatment for themselves and their families, from the earliest stages of a mental health crisis through recovery.


People living in Moria are in a constant state of insecurity, danger and fear. They left their country to feel safe and they have come to a place that doesn’t offer them safety. They tell us that situations in Moria are as frightening as those in the country they’ve fled.

Kiki Michailidou
IRC Psychologist