Spanish law foresees full access to the public health care system for all asylum seekers.1 Through this legal provision, they are entitled to the same level of health care as nationals and documented third-country nationals residing in Spain, including access to more specialised treatment for persons who have suffered torture, severe physical or psychological abuses or traumatising circumstances.
Although access to special treatment and the possibility to receive treatment from psychologists and psychiatrists is free and guaranteed, it should be highlighted that in Spain there are no specialised structures for victims of severe violations and abuses like the ones faced by asylum seekers escaping war, indiscriminate violence or torture. There are no specialised medical centres that exclusively and extensively treat these particular health problems.
The only existing structure that works with asylum seekers suffering from mental health problems is coordinated by Accem in collaboration with Arbeyal, a private company. In fact, since 2012, they jointly manage the “Hevia Accem-Arbeyal” centre,2 specialised in disability and mental health. The purpose of the residential centre is to offer a space for assistance, care and coexistence to people whose mental illness impedes their integration. The centre reserves places for asylum seekers, although it is not specialised in asylum-related experiences.