TransVer aims to make mental health support accessible to everyone, regardless of origin and first language.
The name TransVer stands for transculturality, psychosocial care, a transfer of information and skills, advice and information about psychosocial support providers and transparency. It is a project for people with a migration background as well as mental health professionals.
People with a migration background who are experiencing mental difficulties
psychosocial support providers
Counselling & information – Resource data base – Workshops and training for mental health professionals
TransVer aims to make mental health support accessible to everyone, regardless of origin and first language. We work towards this goal on three levels:
1. We give out information about and direct you to psychosocial support providers for people with a migration or refugee background.
2. We provide a freely accessible data base on resources and psychosocial support services in Berlin Mitte for people from migrant communities.
3. We offer further training, supervision and case discussion on intercultural topics for mental health professionals.
Furthermore, since April 2020 we advocate the intercultural opening of Berlin hospitals within the context of the project “neXus”.
„TransVer“ was developed based on research results of a study group on “Mental Health and Migration” (www.segemi.de – funded by Volkswagen Stiftung, 2009 – 2013) created by a former Berlin project group at the Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at Campus Mitte of Charité University Medicine Berlin. The research results show that the intercultural opening, as it was demanded and anchored in the Berlin 2010 “Law for Participation and Integration” for all institutions which fall into this field of responsibility, was in many cases not implemented in the psychosocial sector (see: Die Beauftragte des Senats von Berlin für Integration und Migration 2010). It thus became apparent that migrants are often underrepresented in receiving psychosocial support (Penka et al. 2015) in relation to their experienced level of stress (Dingoyan et al. 2017).
People with a Turkish migration background were – against previous assumptions – partly actively searching for psychosocial support. However, they ofter encounter difficulties when trying to access this support. They reported having difficulties in finding native-language support, which is the preferred option for most. Therein, beyond the possibility of linguistic understanding, the attributed empathy of native speaking Turkish professionals played an important role.
The data of the study likewise suggests that there are various barriers to access which are either structural or emanate from staff members, and which were often disregarded in other studies. To gain access to certain psychosocial support offers, multiple steps have to be taken, such as placement by staff members or assumption of costs according to legal regulations. For some people with a migration background, this seems to be hardly manageable. Additionally, many mental health care professionals have only marginally dealt with the topic of improving care and support for people with a migration background. It was identified that professionals often feel insecure and overwhelmed, and partly have negative attitudes toward people with a migration background (Penka et al. 2015).
At the same time, there is a wide range of support offers with a multitude of resources directed at specific target groups. This includes different foreign and native language skills, as well as staff members with multiple migration backgrounds of their own. Furthermore, some staff members signal great openness and interest toward international clients, who however do not reach their support offers. Often, the resources available in the psychosocial support system seem to not be applied appropriately and thus remain largely unused.
TransVer answers this problematic situation by aiming to facilitate psychosocial support for people with a migration background in Berlin using the following strategies:
1. Supporting and strengthening people with a migration background who are searching for help by offering information and counselling, as well as directing them towards suitable psychosocial support
2. Raising awareness and strengthening those working in psychosocial institutions by offering further training, supervision and case discussions
3. Working towards transparency concerning existing intercultural resources in the psychosocial support system by means of a resource data base
Thereby, we facilitate the participation of people with a migration background in the established psychosocial support system rather than initiating yet another “special project” for this target group.
“TransVer” was funded by LOTTO foundation Berlin over a period of 3 years (01/2017-12/2019).
Since January 2020, TransVer is funded by the Senate Department for Health, Care and Equalityof Berlin.