Mental Health & Psychosocial Support

Trigger Warning
This page contains information self harm and suicide, and thus may be triggering.

At the end of 2020, IRC reported a 71% spike in the number of people experiencing psychotic symptoms and a 66% increase in self-harm for people living in the camps on the islands.1 MSF reported that at least 49 young children attempted suicide or had suicidal ideations in Lesvos in 2020. While in May 2021 Greece opened its bars and restaurants and its borders to tourists, asylum seekers live by different standards, confined to the fences that surround the camp with controlled and limited access to basic services and psychosocial activities.

1International Rescue Committee, ‘The Cruelty of Containment’, December 2020

To respond to the worsening mental health crisis in Lesvos and the insufficient mental health resources for vulnerable asylum seekers, in October 2020 Fenix established its first mental health project, with a focus on women and GBV survivors.

Our MHPSS team consists of Greek and international psychologists. Our interventions include:

  • Stabilization, psychological first aid, individual sessions, assessments, and evaluation and reports for the asylum procedure.
  • Weekly group sessions for young male adults from 18-25 years old (many of them unrecognized unaccompanied minors registered as adults), women and translators from the refugee community, focusing on increasing emotional wellbeing, navigating daily challenges, learning essential language skills, and developing practical tools for stress management and anxiety.
  • Psychiatric care. We collaborate with private psychiatrists and with the Psychiatric Unit of the Mytilini Public Hospital.
I was finally able to sleep for a few hours last night. Telling you my story and getting it outsideof me was a relief for my heart and my mind.
Woman from Congo
After our first meeting, I feel I am not crazy. Everything I feel is normal and that thought helps me.
Woman from Afghanistan, participant of women’s MHPSS group