Mental Health Field of Action

The Mental Health Field of Action created a public for the commitment in this field, appreciated it, networked committed people with each other, uncovered cross-cutting issues, and developed them further.

"It is the encounters with people that make life worth living," a famous 19th-century French writer once wrote. At the time, he had already summed up what we all felt very clearly in the course of the pandemic: as humans, we are social beings. We need togetherness, long for exchange and closeness. In times of Corona, encounters took place less frequently, or they increasingly shifted to the digital space. The first lockdown in the spring of 2020 had already shown that the absence of people and isolation endangers mental health. Those who lived alone, had little mobility, or were dependent on outside help were particularly affected. That included many senior citizens, who became increasingly lonely even during the regular times. One thing can help a lot, just pick up the phone and call someone; for example, the German telephone counselling service, which employs around 7,500 volunteers. Whether it's grief, loneliness, depression, illness, grief, or anger - they listen.

© Jon Flobrant (Unsplash)

Especially in the field of voluntary commitment, people support others in life crises or accompany them in difficult situations. It is good that mental health has moved more up the agenda and has become a permanent topic in the media. But it needs more than that. That's why we took a closer look at what's happening in this area in our first Mental Health Field of Action, which launched in March 2021. We were creating publicity that demonstrated the work in this field and recruited new committed people. We wanted to say thank you to the volunteers for their daily commitment, honor their work and bring them together with others.

The mutual exchange of experience and knowledge between volunteers from the area of counselling and learning from each other played a crucial role in this. What is the situation, for example, in the area of inclusion in telephone counselling? What are the actions helping people with disabilities better integrate into the voluntary activities of telephone counselling? What if committed people with severe disabilities, inclusion stakeholders, and other interested parties from the field of commitment could get together and simply have space to talk about this and other topics? After all, there were many common intersections. Berlin is diverse, so there's also cultural diversity in telephone counselling. But how exactly is diversity represented there?

And to make sure that we don't lose the thread in our excitement about the togetherness of so many great people, we brought in cross-sectional categories such as Europe, democracy, and digitisation and, as is our way, asked lots of curious questions. Because if you can't ask questions, you can't learn, and we wanted to learn.

For each field of action, there was a partner organisation for implementation. Other interested parties were involved. Together we developed different formats of exchange and networking. For the field of action Mental Health, our main partner was the Diakonisches Werk Berlin-Brandenburg-Schlesische Oberlausitz (DWBO) e.V.

This is what they put together in the campaign year:

freiwillig VERNETZT Fachaustausch zum Thema "Inklusives Ehrenamt" - Online-Austausch am 15.09.2021

zu den Ergebnissen
Auftaktveranstaltung des Aktionsforums Seelische Gesundheit, 4.3.2021, Diakonie Berlin-Brandenburg-schlesische Oberlausitz

The "Mental Health" field of action kicked off on March 4, 2021 with a digital launch event on the various telephone pastoral care areas of the Diakonie, a panel discussion with full-time staff and volunteers, parallel workshops, and a scientific lecture on the psychological impact of the pandemic on everyday life.

Click here for the documentation (in German only) and the magazine article


The Diakonische Werk Berlin-Brandenburg-schlesische Oberlausitz

The Diakonisches Werk Berlin-Brandenburg-schlesische Oberlausitz is a non-statutorywelfare association that represents the social, educational and health services of theProtestant churches in Berlin and Brandenburg, is committed to participation and diversityand works for disadvantaged and excluded people in the spirit of charity. The associationrepresents around 400 independent diaconal organizations with more than 1,300 facilitiesand 52,000 employees.


Diakonisches Werk Berlin-Brandenburg-schlesische Oberlausitz (DWBO) e.V.

Verena Götze
Press Officer and Head of Public Relations


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