mental health care in germany english
Expat Life in Germany

How to Get Mental Health Counselling in Germany (In Your Language!)

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Are you in need of mental health care in Germany? Read this post to learn where to start searching and how to find a therapist in Germany and receive mental health counselling.

 

Finding a therapist who speaks your language can be super challenging in Germany. In this article, I have compiled some resources where non-German speakers can find the support and care they need for their emotional wellbeing.

Read where to get urgent mental healthcare in Germany, how to find short term mental health ‘first aids’ at affordable costs and long term mental health treatment in Germany.

You can also learn about how to get reimbursement from your health insurance providers.

 

1) Emergency mental health helplines in Germany

If you experiencing intrusive thoughts and need to urgently speak with someone, then here are some emergency contacts for mental health helpline in Germany.

 


The emergency numbers in Germany are

112: Dial this number for urgent medical assistance or fire emergency

110: Dial this number for police emergency


 

1.1) Mental health helplines for English speakers

  • British Armed Forces (Germany) Hotline: 0800 181 0771/ 0800 181 0772 (to Samaritans)
  • International Helpline Berlin: 030-44 01 06 07
  • Crisis Hotline: 0177/ 81 41 510 (Free of Charge Referral Service)

 

1.2) Mental health helplines for Russian speakers

Doweria offers mental health support for the Russian speaking community in Germany.

The Crisis Service of Middle Franconia also offers counselling in Russian as well.

 

1.3) Mental health helplines for Turkish/ Arabic speakers

MuTeS is an emergency hotline for the Muslim community living in Germany. They offer advice in Turkish, Arabic and Urdu on their emergency hotline.

The Crisis Service of Middle Franconia also offers counselling in Turkish.

 

1.4) Multilingual/ global suicide hotlines and online chats services

Telefoneseelsorge is a nationwide crisis helpline in Germany that offers emergency counselling in German only.

However, they also have a database of multilingual crisis helplines. You can find a helpline in your native language here. Click on your country and find the number of helplines where you can find a counsellor that speaks in your native language.

 

IASP is an international database to find screened suicide prevention resources, guides and information globally. You can use this map to find a helpline specific to your geographical area and language.

suicide hotline germany english

 

Suicide Stop offers an international online chat service that you can use basically anytime, from anywhere.

 

english online helpline in germany

 

 

2) Non-emergency mental health treatment in Germany

If you do not need urgent mental health assistance, but still need to speak to a professional or get a medical evaluation you obviously need to see a therapist.

Unfortunately, booking in-office sessions can take notoriously long in Germany. According to Germany’s Federal Chamber of Psychotherapists, it takes more than three months to get even the first appointment with a therapist.

If you need to speak to a mental health counsellor in Germany on short notice, then here are some ways to do so.

 

2.1) Online mental health therapies

 

Online therapy is an alternative form of face-to-face therapy that allows a therapist to communicate with you remotely through the Internet (vs. in-office sessions).

In online therapy, you communicate with your counsellor through a mobile device such as a computer, tablet, smartphone etc over an Internet connection.

Here are a few services that provide easy to book online therapies in Germany,

 

It’s complicated

It’s Complicated is not just an online directory that connects you with therapists in several countries, but also lets you book online therapy sessions with them.

This Berlin based online platform matches you with counsellors in several EU and Non-EU cities. If you speak one of the European languages you can be sure to find one that speaks your language.

To book a consultation you can contact a therapist(s) of your choice directly through their profiles. You can use the filters to narrow down the type of therapy approach, or payment methods or even religious, ethnic or gender identity etc.

Find an English therapist in Germany through It’s Complicated’s online directory.

 

online mental health counseling in germany

 

 

Better Help

Better Help is a Silicon Valley based online portal that provides accessible, affordable, convenient professional counselling globally.

There are about 13,000+ licensed therapists on Better Help’s platform. There are different types of therapists (in-office or online) that can help anyone in need of mental health care at a time and location best suited for the user.

 

mental health helpline Germany

 

2.2) Digital health applications (DiGAs)

 

Germany is the first country in the world to prescribe digital apps (digitalen Gesundheitsanwendungen or DiGAs for short) which can be reimbursed through the statutory health insurance system.

Digital health apps are basically mobile health products that support the recognition, monitoring, treatment or alleviation of certain diseases or disabilities.

Here is the complete list of DiGA approved health apps. You can use the ‘Sprache‘ filter to select your preferred language.

digital health apps germany

 

These e-mental health products use scientifically recognised psychotherapeutic techniques and fulfil safety standards that can help reduce symptoms and decrease stress in various phases of a mental illness.

Here are some providers that offer scientifically-backed online courses to alleviate or improve your mental wellbeing.

 

deprexis

deprexis is a digital mental health app approved in Germany’s DiGA system. It is one of the most researched digital therapies in the world and utilises cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques to alleviate symptoms of depression.

deprexis offers a 12-week program with a simple structure and responds to patient’s input to personalise their experience.

In Germany, all statutory health insurances cover the costs for deprexis prescription issued by your doctor and psychotherapist. Once you provide your insurance company with this prescription, they will send you an access code to access deprexis digital therapy.

You can also privately pay for it for 297,50 €.

 

free online therapy in germany

 

Hello Better

HelloBetter offers immediate solutions for certain mental health issues. This platform offers a number of online courses for prevention and treatment for acute depression, insomnia, panic, stress etc.

Some of these online courses can even be reimbursed by your health insurance provider. You can start the course online or use Hello Better’s app on your mobile devices.

 

online therapy in Germany

 

Hello Better’s online courses have been developed and evaluated over many years of research by an interdisciplinary team of psychologists.

Their “Calm through the Crisis” course is entirely available in English for free of cost. It is designed to help users maintain their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this eight-week-long course, users learn to practice self-care and cope better with coronavirus triggered stress and fears.

free online therapy germany

 

 

3) Long term mental health treatment in Germany

 

The above solutions might be super useful for maintaining your short-term mental well-being. But what if you want to take a deep dive into your emotional issues and get long term therapy in Germany?

The first challenge in receiving proper long term mental health care in Germany is finding the right therapist whose services are covered by German health insurance.

In this section, you will learn how to find a mental health counsellor in Germany and how German health care works in regards to mental health treatments.

 

3.1) How to find an English speaking therapist in Germany 

 

Or a therapist that speaks your language!

There are a few ways to go about it. One is obviously word of mouth. Ask around in your social circles who can recommend a good therapist. Otherwise, you can search for a psychotherapist or psychiatrist in Germany through:

  • Your health insurance provider
  • Psychosocial counselling centres in your city
  • Regional psychotherapist and medical associations
  • Social psychiatric services in your local area

Another most common option is to use the Internet. Search terms like ‘English (or your target language) + therapist + Munich (your city’s name)’ will give you results for psychotherapists in your area who offer counselling in English or your preferred language.

You can also use an online directory such as

It’s Complicated and Therapy Route are available in English and are very simple and easy to navigate.

On Therapie.de, you can choose therapists who offer sessions in English or your preferred language, by using the Sprache filter in your search.

Choose the payment method using Abrechnung filter as GKV: Kassenzulassung so that your search only gives you therapists who have a Kassenzulassung, i.e. not a private practice.

If the therapist is able to work with you and sees psychotherapy as a necessity, your German health insurance may be able to cover the costs of the treatment.

 

mental health care in Germany

 

 

3.2) Getting psychotherapy reimbursed by your health insurance

Finding a therapist that speaks your language is just the first step in a long hurdle to get mental health care in Germany. Here are some ways to get your therapy costs covered by your health insurance in Germany.

 

  • Private health insurance 

The costs of therapy are sometimes reimbursed in full by private health insurance providers.

However, the terms and conditions for private insurers can vary. There may be a limitation to the number of sessions that can be funded or the reimbursement cost may be capped. Some policies exclude certain types of psychotherapies.

It is best to inquire with your health insurance company and ask to what extent the costs will be covered.

Patients with German private insurance usually directly receive invoices from their therapist. Depending on the health insurance coverage, they will be reimbursed partially or in full by your insurance company.

 

  • Public  health insurance  

Unfortunately, German public health insurance rarely covers the costs of psychotherapy.

To get your public health insurance provider to cover the session costs, you can expect to go through the following procedure. Remember your mileage may vary depending on your personal situation.

 

    • Find a suitable therapist in Germany

Start by searching for a therapist who counsels in your language on Therapie.de or It’s complicated. Bear in mind that it can take several weeks or months to find a therapist and to start therapy.

    • Make an appointment for trial sessions

Once you have found a therapist who speaks your language and has availability, you will attend the first four meetings known as Probesitzungen, or trial sessions. In these sessions, you can decide if you want to continue the process or find another therapist.

    • Apply to your health insurance for long-term therapy (with your therapist)

If you decide to continue the treatment, you and the therapist will make an application to your public health insurance provider to continue therapy after the trial sessions. Your therapist must state why therapy is necessary for you.

In addition to this application, your statutory health insurance company also requires a doctor’s report. A practising doctor can provide that after a general examination with you.

    • Wait for the application to process

Your statutory health insurer decides whether to approve therapy based on an evaluation. They assign a specially trained evaluator to assess the application and your doctor’s report. Your personal information remains anonymous to them. If your application is approved, the public health insurer will cover the costs of your psychotherapy.

This process can take a few weeks and grants you a certain number of psychotherapy sessions.

 


An exception is a short psychotherapy treatment: No evaluation is needed to approve psychotherapy that only requires a few sessions. The evaluator only provides the health insurance company with the information needed for payment of the therapy.


  • Out-of-network reimbursement (Kostenerstattungsverfahren)

It is possible that you won’t be able to get your treatment approved by your public health insurance in Germany.

If you end up receiving treatment from a private practice psychotherapist (who cannot normally bill patients with statutory health insurance companies) – you can still get reimbursement for your treatment.

The public insurance companies in Germany are legally obliged to cover the cover of psychotherapy according to § 13 paragraph 3 SGB V under circumstances such as:

  • You must be in urgent need of psychotherapy
  • You can prove that you have tried to contact several “Kassentherapeuten” and failed to get an appointment
  • Your psychotherapist must have the same level of training as any GVK-approved Kassentherapeuten and must carry an Approbation license

You can read all about this procedure of reimbursement (Kostenerstattungsverfahren) here.

 

  • Private payment for your psychotherapy (Selbstzahlung)

If the above-described reimbursement process appears too complicated and you have the financial means, you can make life simple for yourself by paying privately for out-of-network therapists.

German health insurances cover only cognitive-behavioural-therapy, psychodynamic therapy and psychoanalysis. They’re also only obliged to cover the treatment of mental health issues that are both urgent and severe.

So if you want something outside of the covered treatments, you may have to finance it yourself.

The benefits of self-payment (Selbstzahlung), are that:

  • You can freely choose which therapeutic method you prefer
  • You can decide the length of the treatment
  • You face little bureaucracy and enjoy more anonymity since none of your personal data and medical diagnoses are shared with third parties

In Germany, the psychotherapy charges are regulated by the official scale of fees for psychological psychotherapists (Gebührenordnung für Psychologische Psychotherapeuten or GOP). Your therapist should inform you of the session costs in advance.

 

So this was my long guide about how to get mental health care in Germany in your language. It is definitely a hard journey for foreignres but doable. Did I miss something important in this guide? Please let me know in the comments below. 

Hi there, I am the human behind this blog. If you could not tell by my photo, I am fueled by tea. My expat journey started at the age of 19. Germany has been my home for several years. I hope you will find some helpful insights if you are considering moving to Germany or already live here.

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