Hellenic Red Cross

Who is responsible for psychosocial support (PSS)?

Ms. Dora Papadopoulou, Head of Social Welfare Devision

Contact for PSS

Mrs. Zoi Margellou

Phone: 30 210 5249901, +30 210 3629842






Website of the national society or PSS




Field of psychosocial support at the moment


The Social Welfare Division of the Hellenic Red Cross was established in 1965. Since then, it has been active in the support of all vulnerable people in need, both in Greece and abroad. The Division responds to social needs or demands of nowdays, by identifying a number of humanitarian activities which are within the capability of the local society.


All the activities of the Social Welfare Division refer to the following fields of action:



Target groups: children and families, patients, homeless, unemployed and other social excluded or minority groups

AIM OF THE PROGRAMMES: the reinforcement and support of all the above mentioned vulnerable groups in order to reconcile themselves and cope better with everyday life difficulties, as well as, the provision of the humanitarian aid.

Main activities:

  • Psychosocial support
  • Counselling to individuals and families
  • Active information for Rights and Social Benefits on training, health care, social insurance, housing, financial allowance
  • Vocational counselling, labor orientation, empowerment and labor integration of unemployed people
  • Financial support, provision of materials



Aim of the programmes: the prevention of the biological and social difficulties of the elderly and disabled people through health and welfare activities and their involvement in a number of community actions for their mobilization and self – organization.

Main activities:

  • Psychosocial – emotional support of the beneficiaries
  • Health care activities (nursing at home – physiotherapy health nutrition seminars, preventive medicine programs)
  • Consultation and information (advice concerning every day life, pension, geriatric care etc)
  • Support and help in case of illness (need of care visits to the hospital, self – help groups, escort to the agencies)
  • Culture, education, leisure amenities and entertainment facilities (choir, theatre, gymnastics, folklore dances, swimming cultural events, handicrafts etc)
  • Cooperation with other community services and centers for the aged and the disabled



Aim of the programme: to provide a safe living environment, feeding, personal hygiene care, security and help to homeless people, individuals or families. Moreover, to provide support services, such as actions for social reintegration and promotion to the Labor Market, with the view to avoid the social exclusion of homeless people.

Target groups:

  • Unemployed over 45 years old
  • Large families who experience, in several sectors, the social exclusion
  • Women who face social exclusion
  • People with lack of access to secure living environment
  • People excluded from the Labor Market



Aim of the programmes:  to provide social support and integration services to the target group in order to encourage them to participate actively in greek society. At the same time, they are encouraged to retain their cultural identity.

Main activities:

  • Legal and psychosocial support
  • Facilitation of refugees’ access to education and employment
  • Health care services (vaccination, check up, prevention seminars, escort to the hospitals)
  • Educational activities for children and adults (Greek/English language course, homework assistance, computer courses)
  • Accommodation, provision of food clothing, hygiene or other material help
  • Interpretation
  • Telephone line for their support and information
  • Intercultural and recreational activities
  • Creation of informal networks among refugees
  • Project to the community with the refugees’ positive contribution to the society (radio broadcastings, press releases, exhibitions, events etc.)



Priority of accommodation in the Centre is given to: Vulnerable groups – Elderly  – Single parent families  – Multimembered families   – Families with minors  – people with serious health problems

Provision of the Centre: Accommodation, Food provision, Medical care, Hygiene supplies, Clothing

Main activities:

  • The implementation of multi – leveled and bidirectional activities, with the active enrollement of the particular target -group (policy of horizontal approach -  mainstreaming) fleading to their social and labour preparation  in order to be integrated smoothly, immediately and dynamically to the wider society as soon as those activities are completed.
  • Orientation to the Labour Market
  • Counselling on legal issues close collaboration with the Legal Department of G.C.R
  • Educational activities: Learning of Greek language  – Centre of Professional Training , Tutoring, Educational Programs in the Centre
  • Collaboration with the community  – Municipality of Lavreotiki
  • Cultural  – athletic activities


The activities of the Social Service are enforced with the participation of Social Welfare Volunteers of H.R.C adequately trained and experienced on refugee issues.

Volunteers provide assistance during the daily operation of the Social Service. They are motivated and supervised by the Social Workers of Centre and towards providing voluntary work according to the relevant principals of Red Cross.

Volunteers actions:

  • Escort of refugees in hospitals and Services
  • Linking with institutions of community - Mediation
  • Tutoring (supporting study in the courses of school)
  • Organisation of intercultural activities
  • Provision in Kind assistance – Storage of clothes
  • Raising of public awareness
  • Mediation in employers while searching for work
  • Participation actions aiming to the most vulnerable cases – e.g women
  • Leisure time activities for children



Aim of the reception center: to offer temporary accomodation to families who have requested asylym. It also provides shelter, even to single parent families, women without an escort, large families and families with special needs, such as health problems.


Main activities:

  • Reception and enrollment of families refugees
  • Psychosocial support and family counseling
  • Information on issues relative to asylym
  • Information about the job market and general matters of employment
  • Connection with community structures and resources
  • Networking with public services
  • Financial assistance in urgent cases
  • Medical and pharmaceytical care
  • Intercultural activities
  • Creative occupation for children and adults



The Hellenic Red Cross (H.R.C.), coordinator of the Development Partnership ‘Aktinergia,’ has undertaken the implementation of Action 10, ‘Intercultural Center of Lavrio,’ in cooperation with the Municipal Enterprise for the Development of Lavrion. The project is co-funded by the Ministry of Employment and Social Protection and the European Social Fund (ESF).

The Intercultural Center is a new counselling service providing psychosocial support and vocational orientation to asylum seekers residing in the Reception Center of Lavrio is in Eastern Attica. The Center implements activities towards the empowerment of social and professional skills of asylum seekers, specially designed to meet the specific needs and characteristics of the beneficiaries. Furthermore, emphasis is given on awareness raising campaigns and activities within the local community, as well as activities targeting to combat feelings of racism and xenophobia, by encouraging local population and beneficiaries to participate in joint activities, in order to achieve the promotion of their diversity.


Programmes - Activities

  • Sports Activities
  • Promotion of Employment for Asylum Seekers
  • Operation of Internet “Surfing” project.
  • Training of H.R.C. Social Welfare Volunteers in Lavrio
  • Implementation of Intercultural - Educational Activities
  • Implementation of Workshops



Aim of the programme: Registration, legal advice, information, counselling to asylym seekers, especially to unaccompanied minors who live in the informal reception center of Patras.




In specific regional branches located in areas close to Greek – Turkish boarders or islands of East Aegean Sea which constitute entrances for illegal arrivals ( e.g. migrants or asylum seekers from Asia, Africa) intervenes in mass arrivals situations with specialized personnel in order to assist migrants in exercising their basic rights through provision of information and advice.

Main activities:

  • Psychosocial support of the transfered population
  • Organization of reception – detention centers / camps
  • Provision and distribution of material humanitarian help
  • Mediation in health and legal services
  • Human rights protection
  • Maintenance of the minimum living standards


In the meantime, every year the Social Welfare Division informs, trains and implements specific actions for the personnel and the volunteers of the HRC regional branches as well as the local authorities , other GO’s and NGO’s and the public in order  to be well prepared in cases of mass arrivals.



The Social Welfare Division develops support and assistance programmes for individuals who suffer due to natural or other disasters and who may have lost their possessions or even their families. Depending on their specific needs, the staff deals with psychological, psychosocial support and individual and collective counselling.

The main objectives of the programmes:

  • To identify the needs of the most vulnerable groups and assist them to confront their basic and specific psychosocial needs
  • To organize community  and social support systems for people with special needs such as elderly people, children, single parents, pregnant mothers, disabled, migrants  and those whose family problems may have been accentuated by disasters
  • To help the affected population to assimilate everyday skills and support them to re – establish their cultural and traditional patterns.
  • To promote self –reliant activities which enable the vulnerable groups to become very soon self – sustaining and independent.


The Social Welfare Division also organizes for its staff and Volunteers training courses in psychological first Aid and other humanitarian support, as well as capacity building skills.

The Social Welfare Division works in close cooperation with the Government, the local Authorities and other NGO’s seeking the respect of the rights of migrants and the fight against racism and discrimination.



The main action fields in the regional social welfare services:

  • The identification of urgent social needs of vulnerable and their psychosocial support
  • The development of community and social support programmes for people in need
  • The intervention in emergency cases (e.g. natural or other disasters, mass arrivals etc.)
  • The implementation of special events such as bazaar , intercultural activities
  • The recruitment, training and mobilization of volunteers who are activated, through voluntary teams, in social welfare programs of the regional branches and other GO’s or Private Agencies.


The core area of the voluntary services involves the following:

  • Home visits
  • Mentally or physically disabled centers
  • Rehabilitation center for juveniles
  • Centers for the elderly people
  • Hospitals
  • “Home Assistance Programs”
  • Psychiatric  Centers
  • Support of Cancer patients
  • Orphanage
  • Homework classes
  • Refugees, migrants programs
  • Prisons


Volunteer action fields

In order to deal with constantly increasing social needs, the Social Welfare Division recruits, trains and supervises volunteers in order to develop and reinforce their potentional and creative skills.

Under the social workers’ guidance, volunteers are asked to perform their volunteer work in running social care projects, either in our Division or in cooperation with other GO and NGO agencies.


After three months of basic training and during their “in – service” training, they offer their voluntary services to people in need, i.e. families and children, elderly people, disabled or homeless people, prisoners, patients, refugees/ migrants. They also support minority groups by providing them everyday lifeskills and helping them to confront their difficulties.


At the same time, the Social Welfare Volunteers take part in specific actions organised by the Division, such as intercultural activities, home visits programs, food distribution to vulnerable groups, Christmas bazaar. They are also activated in emergency response situations ( natural or other disasters, mass arrivals etc).

It should be noticed that the voluntary action takes place not only at the headquarters and its social services in the wide area of Athens, but also at the Local Committees and the Regional Branches of H.R.C. all over Greece.




Main activities:         

Planning and implementation of projects co – financed by the European Commission and governmental bodies with the view of the benefit of Social excluded groups (migrants, asylum seekers, refugees etc).

Implemented programme the current year:

In the frame of European Refugee fund, Social Welfare Division is implementing with the active participation of NGO’s four (4) programmes, co – financed by the Ministry of Employment and Social Protection, aiming to Support unemployed people,. Specifically:

  • 1st Action Plan (Anosi) the target group includes homeless women in Athens
  • 2nd Action Plan ( Anstixi) for Migrant women from East Europe, Asia and Africa
  • 3rd  Action Plan (Gefira) for asylum seekers from Afganistan in Lavrio
  • 4rth  Action Plan ( En drasi) for long – time unemployed aged over 45



In the framework of the Community Initiative EQUAL (2nd implementation phase), main objective of the Development Partnership “AKTINERGIA” in which the Hellenic Red Cross is the coordinator partner, is asylum seekers completed support via designing and implementing a number of actions and interventions for the confrontation of more specific and general issues, which emerge in every stage of their integration procedure.

This central objective is further analysed in the following main actions:

  1. Assisted voluntary repatriation
  2. Network of support offices, Mediation / Counseling  and Vocational promotion
  3. Mobile Unit of Acute Intervention
  4. Multicultural Center in Lavrion, Attica
  5. Reinforcement of the local communities ability in order to deal with the needs of reception and social integration of asylum seekers
  6. Strengthening of the role of the Reception and Temporary Accommodation Centers, in order to become Centers with support of the asylum seekers’ social and vocational integration
  7. Legal support on integration issues
  8. Training of asylum seekers as interpreters
  9. Training of professional orientation and Employment Counselors for asylum seekers
  10. Research on the “Repatriation of asylum seekers and international developmental help”
  11. Research on “The role of networks in the asylum course”
  12. Publicity actions
  13. Transnational cooperation
  14. Organisation and Administration of the project
  15. External evaluation


The framework for the design of this project has been the strategic goal of the EQUAL Community Initiative, Pillar 5 “Asylum Seekers” – Thematic Field 5.1 “ Socio-vocational integration of asylum seekers” – co funding from the European Social Fund and the Greek Ministry of Employment and Social Protection.



Aim of the European networks: the dissemination of information / experience and the promotion of best practice.



PERCO is the Platform for European Red Cross Cooperation on Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Migrants. The aim of PERCO is to develop and strengthen the Red Cross activities for and with refugees and migrants on a national and international level and promote cooperation among European National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in order to improve the situation of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants



European Network for the Development of volunteerism aims to exchange experience and best practice, to promote volunteerism and develop new fields of activities.



The aim of the network is the exchange of experience, know – how and best practice in the field of Psychosocial Support.




The Hellenic Red Cross is actively involved in emergency and relief operations implementing activities, such as coming to rescue of people in danger, needs assessment, provision of first aid, psychosocial support, counselling, medical care, distribution of food and hygiene parcels, provision of agricultural machines, cooperation with agencies responsible for the provision of medical and social care.


The projects mentioned below are implemented in Zacharo region in Peloponnese, where series of massive forest fires provoked the greatest ecological devastation in August 2007.


1. Programme of psychosocial support for children and teenagers 

Aims of the project are to provide the children and young people psychosocial support, counselling, assistance:

  • to confront their needs and difficulties in everyday life,
  • to cope better with the problems and effects caused by the disaster,
  • to make them feel comfortable to express their feelings, fears, concerns
  • to deal effectively with their school obligations, cooperate efficiently and productively with their teachers and family members
  • to reinforce them to invest again on their future
  • to be oriented on the demand of the labor market and contribute towards the promotion of their local community,



activities with focus on family level, such as assisting parents to communicate easier with their children, respond to their role and act fruitfully on family matters, parent supervision, upbringing of their children, express their main concerns and fears about their children’s future, gain experience and knowledge on social issues and terms of common life

cooperation with teachers to cope and deal with children‘s needs, psychosocial support and counselling 


2. Mobile unit of medical and social care for the elderly 

Target group:

Having faced serious health problems so far even before the disaster struck, they were additionally affected by the recent catastrophe, due to their inability to cope with the new life requirements, to recover soon and adjust effectively. They mostly reside in remote and isolated areas with lack of access to the state (official) welfare system and any kind of psychosocial support and medical services.

Aims of the project:

  • counselling, psychosocial support and assistance
  • medical and nursing care
  • information to the elderly, chronically ill, disabled with lack of supportive family system


Expected results:

The project is implemented within the framework of programmes and activities for the elderly carried out so far by the Social Welfare Division. Through the project, the elderly will be reinforced to confront better their needs and difficulties of everyday life. Their health needs and problems will be addressed and covered at home (home care and assistance). Hospitalization as well as care in institution will be avoided and they will have the chance to act and contribute within their own communities.

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