A total of 400 children from asylum seeking families in Sweden have been diagnosed with depressive devitalization at some point. Children with the condition lose the will to eat, sleep and often do not get out of bed.
Today only 21 children in Sweden have the condition, according to a controversial report presented to migration minister Tobias Billström on Friday.
The report, by child psychologist Marie Hessler, says that the reason for the condition is unclear. The study was commissioned by former migration minister Barbro Holmberg, who asked Hessle to suggest a course of action to deal with the problem.
Many of Hessle’s conclusions had previously been shared with the press, giving rise to a fevered debate. She was criticised by politicians from across the political spectrum, including representatives of the Liberal, Centre and Christian Democrat parties, now part of the government.
Organizations including Save the Children Sweden have also been enraged by Hessle’s work, accusing her of spreading a false picture that the children are faking their symptoms in order to gain residence permits.
“This means that these children are treated in a most unfortunate way by the health service and authorities,” said Gun Godani, psychotherapist at Save the Children.