Psycho-education and Psycho-social Support

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					Mind-Spring offers psycho-education and psycho-social
support to groups of asylum seekers and refugees.
These support groups are carried out by trained refu-
gees or asylum seekers in co-operation with a profes-
sional mental health worker.
Mind-Spring offers training programs in psycho-
education for refugees and asylum seekers as well as
their coach form a mental health institution.
On request Mind-Spring provides training programs for
other organizations in the work field of asylum seekers
or refugees.

                                                                   Psycho-social Support
                                                                            for and by
      Afdeling Preventie           Phone: 00 31 (0) 75 681 44 50    asylum seekers & refugees
      Westzijde 120                Fax: 00 31 (0) 75 681 44 86
      1506 EJ ZAANDAM              Email:

       Mr. B.F.G. Uitterhaegen
       Mr. P.A.M. Sterk

         Mind-Spring is sponsored by the European Refugee Fund
                        Mind-Spring                                                               Training program
It is well known that refugees and asylum seekers who en-          Mind-Spring psycho-education and psycho-social support is
dured a long and difficult period in their lives may suffer        given by specially trained refugees and asylum seekers.
from psycho-social and/or mental problems. To be able to
                                                                   (Former) refugees and asylum seekers are trained in pro-
help refugees and asylum seekers with their specific prob-
                                                                   viding psycho-education and psycho-social support to fel-
lems professional mental health care in a refugee sensitive
                                                                   low refugees and asylum seekers. After successful comple-
and cultural context is needed. For this we have created
                                                                   tion of the training program they are entitled Mind-Spring
                                                                   trainers. A Mind-Spring trainer works together with and is
                                                                   coached by a mental health professional from a mental
 Difficulties asylum seekers and refugees encounter                health institution.
                                                                   The extra value of trained refugees and asylum seekers
Mind-Spring is a psycho-education and psycho-social sup-           providing psycho-education primarily consists of the knowl-
port program for both asylum seekers and refugees.                 edge of the mother language, knowledge of culture and
In The Netherlands and in many other European countries            customs and the specific situation an asylum seeker is living
asylum seekers have to wait a long time, often many                in. The possibility to talk in ones own language has a tre-
years, before a decision is made on their asylum applica-          mendous positive impact on the expression of emotions, on
tion. While waiting, they are living in asylum seekers cen-        having dynamic discussions and on learning new skills in
tres. During this period, asylum seekers are very vulner-          awareness, coping and empowerment. Problems can be
able for psychological problems, due to: (1) the difficult         seen in the context of a culture and specific cultural solu-
period they experienced in their home country or during            tions can be offered and new solutions are developed.
the journey to Europe, (2) the lack of social structure in the     The Mind-Spring program is monitored by GGZ Dijk en
new country, (3) the uncertainty of their future and (4) due       Duin (Dutch institution for mental health care) and a commis-
to living in the constrained setting of a centre for many          sion consisting of organisations specialised in asylum seek-
years.                                                             ers, refugees and health in The Netherlands.
The Mind-Spring psycho-education and psycho-social sup-
port program is also offered to refugees who have re-                                                   Information
ceived a (temporarily) permit to live in The Netherlands.
Once refugees receive their permit they can start their life
                                                                   More information on methodology, psycho-education pro-
outside the asylum seekers centre. However, this doesn’t
                                                                   grams, training of trainer programs, workshops is available
mean their problems are left behind at the centre. On the
contrary. It is known that entering a more “stable” living
situation can trigger the upcoming of psychological prob-                       Tools of Mind-Spring

                                                                 A wareness
lems from the past. Building a new life in a different coun-                    Making aware of mental processes on trauma, mourning, depression, stress, feelings of
                                                                                guilt, self respect and loss in of achievements and social identity (from home country)
try can be very difficult and stressful for refugees. More-      C oping        Learning how to cope with above mentioned problems

over, the temporarily residence permit most of the refu-         C ounselling   Giving individual social support and informing on mental processes in the specific situation
                                                                                of an asylum seeker or refugee
gees nowadays receive keeps their future in The Nether-          E mpowerment   To find out what is in your own power to get more control on your live again.

lands uncertain.                                                 S ignaling     Referring in case more professional help (e.g. therapy) is needed

                                                                 S upport       Offering psycho-social group support