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Psychosocial Online Counseling for Refugees in Malteser Shelters in North Rhine-Westphalia and, in Nationwide Rollout, in Saxony, Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria
December 2020
December 2023
In cooperation with Malteser Werke, with partial funding from the NRW Social Welfare Foundation (December 2020 - December 2021) and the Porticus Foundation (January 2022 - December 2023)

In cooperation with Malteser Werke IPSO has been providing care points for psychosocial counseling in Malteser shelters in North Rhine-Westphalia since January 2021 through a specially-developed sub-domain of The pilot project was extended by two more years at the end of 2021 due to the positive results and feedback from everyone involved. A national rollout started at the beginning of 2022: Ten new shelters – three in Chemnitz alone and one each in Karlsruhe, Eggenstein, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Schneeberg, Lorch, Ellwangen and Bad Schwalbach – were included in the project.

The service aims to improve the mental health of the particularly vulnerable groups of refugees living in them and to provide them with low-threshold access to mother-tongue, culturally sensitive support at face-to-face level – even during the COVID 19 pandemic, when the conditions for providing traditional psychosocial support services were extremely restricted. Counseling is provided by psychosocial counselors trained by IPSO in VBC and available in more than 17 languages, with a focus on high-demand languages such as Arabic and Dari/Farsi. 2,555 appointments have been booked since the start of the project in NRW; a total of 1,400 refugees have been able to benefit from the online psychosocial service (as of: 20.07.2023).

Appointments in 2.5 years
Languages for Value Based Counseling
Refugees received psychosocial counseling in 2.5 years

The object of our low-threshold psychosocial interventions is to find coping strategies together with the residents that enable them to better deal with their often varied and stressful experiences and to quickly put them back in a position to be able to reshape their lives through self-efficacy. Protected rooms with the necessary technical equipment that uses a special sub-domain – internet points as care points – were set up in the state shelters for this purpose to guarantee confidentiality for the hours of video consultations. Social workers from Malteser Werke support the refugees in using the platform on-site, e.g. when setting up a user account or booking appointments.

The project is externally evaluated by Syspons GmbH.


Contact partner for North Rhine-Westphalia:

Clara Hüttenbrink-Marku
0151 / 6462 9906

Contact partner for Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria:

Marcus-Eliser Reiff
0151 / 7201 1848


Further information:


In cooperation with:
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