Psychosocial online counseling for refugees at Malteser accommodations in North Rhine-Westphalia

In cooperation with Malteser Werke, Ipso offers internet access points for psychosocial counseling via the platform at state accommodations for refugees in North Rhine-Westphalia. This gives the particularly vulnerable group of residents improved access to culturally sensitive and empathetic support at eye level in their own language. They are subject to increased psychosocial stressors due to their difficult living conditions during the COVID-19-pandemic and the reduced availability of psychosocial support services. Counseling is provided by psychosocial counselors trained by Ipso in Value Based Counseling in more than 15 languages, with a focus on highly requested languages like Arabic, Dari / Farsi and Kurmanji. The aim of the low-threshold psychosocial intervention is to enable clients to develop coping strategies for stressful experiences and to increase their self-efficacy. The internet access points are designed as safe spaces with the necessary technical equipment in the accommodations to guarantee the confidentiality of the video counseling sessions via Social workers of Malteser Werke assist clients in using the Internet platform on site, e.g. in setting up user accounts or booking appointments. The service is being introduced as a pilot project at the state accomodations of Malteser Werke in North Rhine-Westphalia and aims to improve the psychosocial wellbeing of the residents. Due to the positive results and feedback from all participants, the cooperation project was extended for another two years at the end of 2021. A nationwide rollout also began in early 2022: ten new shelters (in Chemnitz, Karlsruhe, Eggenstein, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Schneeberg, Lorch and Bad Schwalbach) were added to the project. With financial support from Stiftung Wohlfahrtspflege NRW