Having returned from a period of volunteering with a healthcare charity working with the refugee camp population of Lesbos in Greece, a junior doctor reflects on the common presentations he saw and the current state of mental healthcare for these patients. The placement of already-traumatised people in an overcrowded and under-resourced camp environment creates a perfect storm for the emergence of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety. With extremely limited psychiatric care in place, he considers the simple interventions he could use to help his patients with their distressing symptoms. This prompts exploration of the importance of giving time to listen as well as encouraging small but significant lifestyle changes. After exploring the ethics of psychiatric diagnosis in this setting, the author concludes that while we must acknowledge the political origins of some of the symptomatology in this population, we must continue to strive to treat psychiatric illness with all the appropriate interventions available to us in order to help those in this patient group recover and move forward.