Tasmania's Children's Commissioner says some of the Pontville Detention Centre's teenage asylum seekers are worried about their mental health and do not know why they are there.

Eileen Ashford met 29 of the 140 unaccompanied males aged between 13 and 17 at the centre near Hobart last week.

They are from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Kuwait.

Ms Ashford says some are worried about their mental health suffering while they wait for decisions on their status.

"They actually have sleeping problems," she said.

"There is mental health services out at Pontville and they have accessed them, but they are saying that they are very worried that they will 'go mental' with worrying about what is going to happen to them and that is in their words."

Ms Ashford says the detainees have not been given enough information.

"They've been provided with no written information in their language regarding their status and their claims for asylum," the commissioner said.

"So they're quite worried what's going to happen for them and when asked 'are you bored', their resounding voice (was) 'we are really bored, we want to go to school and we want to be in the community'."

Ms Ashford, who is the first person from the community to visit them, says English classes are provided and negotiations are continuing to have the detainees attend schools in the community.

While the centre has a gym, Ms Ashford says a sports ground is also needed.

"They actually want to play soccer and cricket but there's no oval at Pontville because of funds."

"So they've actually been playing soccer and cricket amongst themselves with no appropriate sports gear and actually injuring themselves.

"Some of them had those stocking things you have on your feet."

Pontville has a capacity for 260 minors.

Ms Ashford says most of the current group were transferred from Christmas Island and Leonora in Western Australia. Some have been in detention for up to six months.

She wants the group moved into the community while they await decisions on their future.

Ms Ashford has written to the Immigration Minister with her concerns.

 

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