MENTAL HEALTH AND PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT (MHPSS) | Athens
Our Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) team in Athens provides services that are focused on the well-being of adults on the move (refugees and migrants) who live in the urban area of Athens. Our team supports them in their way to becoming more resilient and independent.
Due to the movement of people from Greek islands to the mainland, as a result of the downsizing and decongestion of camps on the islands, the number of people in the urban setting has increased. As a result, more and more people struggle to find their way around the city of Athens.
People seeking refuge face difficulties on different levels. On a fundamental level: they don’t speak the local language and have difficulties finding accommodation, having enough resources and accessing support services. This, in combination with the lack of support from the Greek government, increases the psychosocial problems. Given that they are often already burdened by chronic stress and past experiences of traumatic events, this may affect people’s mental well-being.
Our MHPSS team, consisting of a psychologist, a social worker and volunteer mental health professionals, offers various forms of psychological and psychosocial support. Our team works with a strength-based, comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to increase people’s resilience, using their knowledge and skills as a starting point. We aim to empower, motivate, accompany, inform and link, in order for the people to take control of their lives and claim their rights.
Our MHPSS team offers psychosocial support services, such as individual psychological support sessions, individual case management and Psychosocial support group activities.
We offer individual psychological support, where we assess the needs of individuals and use various tools to support them. This can be through offering a listening ear, providing psycho-education, and sharing tools for people to cope better with their challenges. The most important principle of our programme in Athens is empowerment. During these dialogues and interactions, we work together with the person involved to explore new ways, life skills and resources which they could use to cope with difficulties and make the first steps towards personal recovery.
As we see that many people on the move have a hard time finding their way around Athens and accessing support services, we offer case management where our social worker assesses the needs, helps in creating action plans and provides support by informing and linking people to appropriate services that meet their needs.
PSYCHOSOCIAL GROUP ACTIVITIES
Our team also provides group activities to raise awareness on well-being and self-care as well as to enhance the life skills of people on the move in Athens. By offering group activities we contribute to the promotion of self-care, the de-stigmatisation of asking for support from psychosocial services and the provision of tools and resources to cope with adversities.
MHPSS CAPACITY BUILDING
MHPSS capacity-building activities are focused on other professionals in Athens operating in the refugee context. Our aim is to introduce basic MHPSS concepts to non-mental health specialised professionals, connect them with good practices and resources, increase their awareness to approach and refer relevant cases even more effectively. These activities take the form of interactive training sessions where we facilitate a safe space for self-reflection and the exchange of knowledge and skills.