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Internet-based Refugee Mental Health Care (I-REACH)

Duration: 2019 – 2024

Project management: Prof. Dr. Christine Knaevelsrud, Dr. Nadine Stammel, Sebastian Burchert

Research Assistants: Dr. Maria Böttche, Dr. Carina Heeke

Development and feasibility testing of a transdiagnostic E-Mental-Health approach for refugees.

I-REACH is a research association funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung; BMBF) within the call for proposals on the mental health of refugees.


Online screening tools and treatment approaches have great potential to address the current mental health care gap of refugees due to their reach. This research project focuses on the development, empirical testing and application of online-based interventions and screenings in various psychotherapeutic/psychiatric care settings for refugees in Germany. The project comprises five subprojects

(1) The reliable identification of refugees with mental health problems is a prerequisite for adequate access to psychotherapeutic/psychiatric treatment. Therefore, easy-to-use online modular screening tools will be developed and psychometrically evaluated.

(2) Since refugees often suffer from multiple and comorbid psychological problems, the second project will develop two different variants of a culturally and contextually adapted cross-diagnostic (transdiagnostic) online-based treatment approach for refugees and test its feasibility.

(3) Subsequently, a randomized controlled trial (RCT) will compare the efficacy of the therapeutically guided online-based treatment in Arabic with a face-to-face treatment and a waiting list in the outpatient area.

(4) The fourth project evaluates the implementation of the developed unguided variant of the online-based intervention in Arabic, Farsi/Dari in inpatient psychiatric standard care.

(5) Finally, cost and health effects of the developed online-based interventions will be analysed in the fifth project.


The aim of subproject 2 of the AB Clinical Psychological Intervention is the development of a culturally and contextually adapted transdiagnostic intervention for refugees as well as the examination of its feasibility.

The transdiagnostic intervention, based on the Common Elements Treatment Approach (CETA), will be developed or culturally and contextually adapted in several variants: 1. an online guided variant in Arabic, 2. an online unguided variant in Arabic and Farsi/Dari, 3. a face-to-face variant in Arabic.

Collaborative partner of the research network I-REACH

  • Freie Universität Berlin
  • Medical School Berlin
  • University Hospital Leipzig
  • LVR Clinic Cologne
  • University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf