Strengthen the “Mental health for children program” of a German NGO

in the difficult context of the largest refugee camp in Europe

In September 2020, the dramatic situation of the thousands of migrants present on the island of Lesbos (and to a lesser extent in four other Greek islands in the Aegean Sea), already known to many and at the center of political clashes over living conditions, appeared on the front pages of all major media: Moria, the largest refugee camp on European soil, had been razed to the ground by a fire at the height of years of tension.

Incredibly, the fire did not cause direct victims but showed everyone the desperate situation of what has become over the years a real hell. What unfortunately cannot be seen in the images of the fire is the terrible need in terms of mental health: an important number of migrants, even more among minors, have a serious symptom picture. Very widespread are post-traumatic syndromes, depressions, dissociative and suicidal states.


Always sensitive to the issue of migration and in particular of the consequent physical and psychological suffering, Maps was contacted in the summer of 2021 to offer advice to the mental health support program for children of the German NGO MVI-Medical Volunteer International.

Thanks to the direct experience accumulated in the field, precisely in Lesbos, in previous years, the consultants of Maps carried out a first system analysis of the program.

The analysis offered the image of a small miracle that grew up with very few resources in a very difficult and unstable context: at the moment the program offers a number of groups, led by mixed teams of volunteering professionals and migrant, based on therapeutic and psychoeducational activities for children with mild and moderate symptoms. A series of critical issues risk weakening the therapeutic effects on the beneficiaries and it is precisely on these critical points that the analysis has focused and a set of corrective actions has been designed. The collaboration between the coordinators of the program and Maps continues and over time will see moments of follow up on the implementation of the intervention.

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