An asylum seeker is someone who has fled their own country and seeks sanctuary in another country. An asylum seeker applies for asylum – the right to be recognized as a refugee and receive legal protection and material assistance. An asylum seeker must demonstrate that his or her fear of persecution in his or her home country is well founded

(UNHCR website: 


According to UNHCR[1] (2001) and for the purposes of this toolkit, empowerment is defined as a process through which women and men in disadvantaged positions increase their access to:

  1. Knowledge (social dimension),
  2. Resources (economic dimension), and
  3. Decision-making power (political dimension)

and raise their awareness of participation in their communities, in order to reach a level of control over their own environment.


The international protection seeker is a person who has applied for international protection and is awaiting the decision of recognition of refugee status or another form of protection.

At European level, together with the refugee status it is possible to apply for subsidiary protection, for which the EU establishes that the applicant has to face a real risk to suffering serious harm if returned to his/her country of origin. The Directive (2004/83/EC) defines also what risks are included in the definition of serious harm, namely:

“(a) death penalty or execution; or (b) torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of an applicant in the country of origin; or (c) serious and individual threat to a civilian’s life or person by reasons of indiscriminate violence in situations of international or internal armed conflict”. 

At the national level, governments can guarantee protection on humanitarian base to those people who do not qualify as refugees but are still facing risks if returned to their native country.


Mental health is a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential and can cope with the normal stresses of life. She or he can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.


A migrant is any person who is moving or has moved across an international border or within a State away from his/her habitual place of residence.

Migration implies a voluntary process, which is not the case for refugees who cannot return home safely.

(IOM Key migration terms

Countries deal with migrants under their own immigration laws and processes. Countries deal with refugees through norms of refugee protection and asylum that are defined in both national legislation and international law. Countries have specific responsibilities towards anyone seeking asylum on their territories or at their borders.

(UNHCR website:


Psychoeducation is an evidence-based therapeutic intervention for patients and their loved ones that provides information and support to better understand and cope with illness and traumas. Psychoeducation offered to patients and family members teaches problem-solving and communication skills and provides education and resources in an empathetic and supportive environment. Results from more than 30 studies indicate psychoeducation improves family well-being, lower rates of relapse and improves recovery.


Psychological Resilience is defined as an individual’s ability to successfully cope with adversity. Adversity and stress can come in the shape of family or relationship problems, health problems, or workplace and financial worries, amongst others.  Resilience is the ability to bounce back from a negative experience with “competent functioning”. Resilience is not a rare ability; in reality, it is found in the average individual and it can be learned and developed by virtually anyone. Resilience is the result of successfully coping with distress, rather than a personality trait.


Psychosocial approach looks at individuals in the context of the combined influence that psychological factors and the surrounding social environment have on their physical and mental wellness and their ability to function.


Psychosocial Support is a general term for any non-therapeutic intervention that helps a person cope with stressors in different life situations.


A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, sexual orientation or membership in a particular social group. Most likely, they cannot return home or are afraid to do so. War and ethnic, tribal and religious violence are leading causes of refugees fleeing their countries.

Refugees are defined and protected in international law. The 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol as well as other legal texts, such as the 1969 OAU Refugee Convention, remain the cornerstone of modern refugee protection. One of the most fundamental principles laid down in international law is that refugees should not be expelled or returned to situations where their life and freedom would be under threat.

Countries deal with refugees through norms of refugee protection and asylum that are defined in both national legislation and international law. Countries have specific responsibilities towards anyone seeking asylum on their territories or at their borders

(UNHCR website:


Transversal skills are those typically considered as not specifically related to a particular job, task, academic discipline or area of knowledge but as skills that can be used in a wide variety of situations and work settings. These skills are increasingly in high demand for learners to successfully adapt to changes and to lead meaningful and productive lives



An unaccompanied child (minor) is a person who is under the age of eighteen, unless, under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier and who is separated from both parents and is not being cared for by an adult who by law or custom has responsibility to do so.

The asylum application is examined by the Commission for the Recognition of Refugee Status, which hears the minor and his/her guardian during the proceeding. If the Commission grants refugee status to the minor, he/she will receive a residence permit for asylum reasons. Or else, minor may be granted subsidiary protection or humanitarian protection. At present, very few seeking UAMs submit an asylum application, even when they would be entitled to be granted refugee status. This is likely to be due to the lack of information. Moreover, those who apply do so on arrival or at the time of their identification.

(UNHCR (1997) Guidelines on Policies and Procedures in dealing with Unaccompanied Children Seeking Asylum)