Five asylum seekers residing in Scottish hotels were reported to have attempted suicide. It is further highlighted that one man who had been settled for several months in the hotel located in Erskine’s Mutha Glasgow River made an attempt on his own life.

The hotel has been a concern due to protests by far-right groups. The Scottish Refugee Council, a commendable charity, reported to a Scottish Parliament committee that a “frontline professional” noted four suicide attempts by asylum seekers at another hotel.

The incidents involved asylum seekers who had been provided accommodation by the Home Office contractor, Mears Group. Charities are apprehensive that there may be many more incidents that have not been reported.

Charities are appealing to the Home Office to put an end to housing asylum seekers in hotel rooms and institutional accommodation. They advocate for housing within communities to better integrate asylum seekers into the local societies.

Stand Up to Racism and local residents hold a counter-protest against the group Patriotic Alternative
(Image: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images.)

Among the 1400 asylum seekers in 16 hotels across Scotland, cities including Greenock, Aberdeen, Dumfries, Falkirk, and East Kilbride provide shelter to these individuals. Approximately, 500 people share bedrooms with many inhabiting hotels for over a year, while frequently transferred.

UKwide, as many as 23 asylum seekers have reportedly taken their own lives between 2020-2023. In an unfortunate incident in December, Albanian Leonard Farruku lost his life in a suspected suicide on the Bibby Stockholm barge, anchored off Dorset.

Valuable insights shared by asylum seekers on The Ferret website highlight the fear of far-right groups and insufficient financial support. This combination puts them in tightening situations where they may feel trapped within the hotel premises.

Some have expressed the sentiment of being in an open prison and pointed out that such situations can trigger traumatic experiences such as past conflict, trafficking, or torture.

The Erskine hotel has come under the spotlight due to protests arranged by far-right organisations such as Patriotic Alternative and Homeland, witnessed by white supremacists. These protests faced pushback from unions and refugee supporters. Mears is considering the closure of the hotel and reallocating those who resided there to various accommodation across the nation.

An asylum seeker who had resided in the hotel commented: “The situation at that hotel was dreadful. Every Sunday there were protests from outsiders against us.”

The individual added, “We were fearful of venturing into the centre, believing that people held negative views about us. Many cannot afford a bus pass, hence remain in their rooms and feel trapped.”

The Scottish Refugee Council acknowledged that the high level of self-harm reflects a “heightened risk of deaths by suicide” at hotels.

The charity expressed its horror regarding the incident in Erskine and called for an “immediate end to the use of hotel rooms and other types of institutional accommodation”.

Pinar Aksu of Maryhill Integration Network alleged that asylum seekers were being shifted around like jigsaw pieces, contributing additional pressure on their mental health. She urged that displacing people across hotels must be put to an end.

Paul Sweeney, Labour MSP and chair of the Scottish Parliament’s cross-party group on migration, blamed the psychological torment caused by the Home Office’s cruel asylum system. According to a spokesperson from Mears, their staff members receive necessary training, including sessions on mental health.

The spokesperson stated: “The safety and wellbeing of our service users are of the utmost importance to Mears. We have a team of welfare support officers who visit hotels daily.”

A Home Office spokesperson assured that they ensure “the needs and vulnerabilities of asylum seekers are identified and considered”.

If you or someone you know needs help, please contact the Samaritans on 116123 or email at

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