Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Department of Social Sciences - Berlin Graduate School of Social Science

Ellen Friederike Heidinger

Ellen Friederike Heidinger

BGSS Generation 2020



Support and mental health – The impact of professional and social support on mental health, well-being and integration of refugees in Germany





Refugees experience elevated levels of psychological distress and are more prone to developing mental health disorders compared to the overall population. It is thereby widely acknowledged that the social support network is valuable for providing emotional, social and cultural support and assistance in times of uncertainty and has proven to be beneficial for refugees’ mental health and well-being. The role of professional support services such as immigration authorities, asylum advice services or non-governmental support organisations providing assistance with legal issues, access to housing and financial support, medical care, labour-market participation or access to education and thereby being being influential to both mental health and the integration process, however, has only gotten limited attention so far. Much less well researched are structural barriers preventing access and utilization of professional support services as well as the role of social support mediating its relationship to mental health. This doctoral project aims to address these deficiencies in the current literature on refugees’ mental health and integration outcomes. The project will comprise three papers covering the role of access to and utilization of professional support on mental health, regional differences in the existence of professional support, as well as the development of integration depending on received levels of support.