If you feel lost in a new country


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What can I do if I feel down and need help?


Moving to a new country and starting a new life can be difficult. Sometimes you can feel that the demands being made on you are overwhelming. You may feel as if there are no ways to manage that is satisfactory to you. This state is known as stress.  Stress can affect all aspects of your life, including how you feel, how you behave and how you think. It can affect your body and physical health.


People who were forced to leave their homes and countries often witnessed or had been exposed to potentially traumatic events. Potentially traumatic events can be seeing or being part of war combat, forced separation from family or close friends, death, loss or disappearance of family members or beloved ones, physical violence or assault, torture, sexual violence and other frightening situations where you felt your life was in danger. Such experiences can affect your psychological and physical health and well-being. It is important to understand that each person reacts to such potentially traumatic events in his or her own unique way. However, there are some typical reactions which include:


  • Return of memories of the events without your will for example during sleep as frightening dreams or while you are awake
  • Feeling and acting as if you are in danger or looking for potential danger, even when you are not in a frightening situation.
  • Avoiding thinking about or talking about the difficult experience(s) from the past including trouble remembering important parts the past.
  • Loss of interest in important, once positive, activities and feeling isolated from others.


These difficulties, however disturbing, can be successfully prevailed. It is good to find professional help if such experiences bother you and interfere with your daily life. 


Psychological help


What is it and who is it for; confidentiality rules; where to find it free of charge


Psychological counselling and psychotherapy are ways to help people deal with difficulties through conversation with specially educated professionals. This can be psychologist, psychiatrist, social workers and other professionals. Psychotherapy and counselling can help in dealing with difficulties in daily life; the impact of trauma, medical illness or loss, like the death of a beloved one; and specific psychological disorders, like depression or anxiety. Consulting professionals to help you does not mean that you are weak or mad; psychological help is for ordinary people when things get too difficult to overcome them by themselves.


Counselling and psychotherapy may be conducted in an individual, family, couple, or group setting, and can help both children and adults. The trust and relationship between you and therapist is essential to working together effectively and benefiting from psychotherapy. That is why confidentiality is basic requirement which means that the professional helping you do not share your personal information with anyone else, including your family members.


In Austria you can get psychological help in public health care system if you are referred by your doctor and then you do not have to pay for it. Asylum seekers and refugees can get free psychological help in organizations dedicated to supporting them. These organizations usually have translators who will help you and the counsellor understand each other. Interpreters also have to keep your conversation secret.  


Support networks


Associations and organizations of third country nationals


SOS Menschenrechte: http://www.sos.at/index.php?id=19


Caritas: https://www.caritas.at


Diakonie: https://diakonie.at


Asylkoordination Österreich: http://www.asyl.at/de/


Rotes Kreuz: https://www.roteskreuz.at/migration-suchdienst/


Further information & links


Caritas: https://www.caritas-wien.at/hilfe-angebote/asyl-integration/beratung-fuer-fluechtlinge/psychosoziale-angebote/


Sotiria: https://www.caritas-salzburg.at/hilfe-angebote/asyl-und-integration/krisenintervention-und-psychotherapie-fuer-asylwerbende/


Diakonie: https://diakonie.at/einrichtung/ankyra-zentrum-fuer-interkulturelle-psychotherapie-tirol




Hemayat: http://www.hemayat.org


Volkshilfe: https://www.volkshilfe-ooe.at/erwachsene/beratung/fluechtlinge-migrantinnen/


Zebra: https://www.zebra.or.at/cms/cms.php?pageName=6&detailId=15&referer=%2Fcms%2Fcms.php


Omega: http://www.omega-graz.at


Support for victims of human trafficking:
For women and children: Interventionsstelle für Betroffene von Frauenhandel: http://www.lefoe.at/index.php/ibf.html
For men: http://www.men-center.at/via.html