Here’s how you can get mental health help in English in Germany

If you've been feeling down for a long period of time and need someone to talk to, or immediate help with a crisis, here is a list of resources for English-speakers in Germany.

Here's how you can get mental health help in English in Germany
A woman sits alone on a bench at the North Sea. Photo: DPA

Whether it’s the pandemic, a personal crisis, hormonal changes or stress, there are plenty of things that might make it hard to cope with everyday life. 

READ ALSO: Germany grapples with mental health impact of Covid-19

Getting help is nothing to be ashamed about. On the contrary – it’s necessary. However, you might find it hard, especially when you’re in a phase of feeling down, to click through Google, trying to find a solution that works for you, especially if you’re not fluent in German. 

So here’s a guide on how to find English-speaking psychological help in Germany:

If you feel unwell, but not in crisis: Visit a general practitioner

Thankfully, most people in Germany, especially if they’re from the younger generations, speak English. That makes finding an English-speaking doctor relatively easy, especially if you’re living in a bigger city. 

After explaining how you feel, he or she will most probably refer you to a psychiatrist to further evaluate treatment options. That can include prescribing medication, like anti-depressants, therapy, or a combination of both. In any case, you can ask your doctor to help you during the process of finding a psychiatrist or therapist.

They can also write you a letter which you can submit to your health insurance for up to six sessions, with the possibility of extension.

READ ALSO: ‘Stressful experience’: How hard is it to find an English-speaking therapist in Germany?

Fast and direct help: hotlines and website

  • Online directory lists around 600 English-speaking therapists currently working in Berlin, 150 in Frankfurt, around 230 in Hamburg, and 240 in Munich
  • Available in English and anonymous if you wish: The Berliner Krisendienst can be reached around the clock, 365 days per year. If you live in Berlin and are experiencing an acute emergency, you can go see them in person from 4 pm to midnight in their nine regional offices. Please find more information (in English) here:
  • If you’re relatively fluent in German, you can call Telefonseelsorge Deutschland on 0800 1110 111 or 0800 1110 222. Their website also features a good overview of international helplines where you can speak to someone in your mother tongue

If you don’t feel like talking: chats 

  • Suicide Stop offers a referral to multiple suicide prevention chats. There are multiple language options available
  • Telefonseelsorge Chat: Again, this is an offer by Telefonseelsorge, so you would need to know some German in order to get help here. As you can write in the chat, and have some more time to comprehend what your consultant wrote compared to a talk on the phone, this might also be an option for medium level speakers. You can find more information here

For real crisis moments: the hospital 

If you feel like suicidal or close to the breaking point, please take your keys and your phone, and either call an ambulance (phone number 112) or a taxi to take you to the nearest hospital.

They are obliged to take you in and find a solution for you to get through your crisis safely. 

They will probably transfer you to the closest psychiatric station, but keep you around until then. They are — under no circumstances — allowed to turn you away.

As hospitals are usually quite big with multiple doctors and nurses on shift, there will most likely be someone among them who speaks English and can assist you.

If there are any resources you’d like to see included in this guide, please let us know by emailing [email protected]

Member comments

  1. Thank you so much for this list! I need to find a new therapist and am stressed about locating one who speaks English. I searched and found many options in my area.

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Ticks in Germany: How to avoid them and what to do if you get bitten

A recent increase in diseases related to the eight-legged bloodsuckers in Germany suggests that ticks are on the rise. We break drown what to look out for and what to do if you get bitten.

Ticks in Germany: How to avoid them and what to do if you get bitten

What are ticks?

Ticks are tiny, spider-like creatures that are usually between 1mm to 1cm in size. They generally live in long grass, bushes and wooded areas.

These little arachnids don’t fly or jump but climb onto animals or humans as they brush past. They are parasites, and once a tick bites into the skin, it feeds on blood for a few days before dropping off. 

Are they dangerous?

During this unpleasant bloodsucking transaction, ticks can transmit diseases to humans which can become dangerous. 

The disease which is mostly associated with ticks is Early Summer Meningoencephalitis (TBE) which, in severe cases, can cause permanent damage such as paralysis, or even death. Thanks to the mild winter and increasingly warm temperatures, this disease is on the rise this year in Germany.

READ ALSO: How climate change is threatening Germany’s forests

The other main disease associated with ticks is Lyme disease which, in the most severe cases, can attack the nervous system, joints, and organs. 

What are the symptoms?

Those who develop Lyme disease can get flu-like symptoms a few days or weeks after being bitten by an infected tick. Children might lose their appetite, lack energy, or complain of stomach ache.

But the most obvious sign of Lyme disease is a red circular rash around the bite.

A woman walks her dog through a patch of long grass. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/HUK-COBURG | Hagen Lehmann

However, if you remove the tick in less than twelve hours, you usually have nothing to worry about, as it takes a while for the infection to be passed onto humans. 

The situation is different with TBE, however, as the disease is transmitted much faster. But, thankfully, it is also much rarer: according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), only 0.1 to 5 percent of ticks in risk areas carry TBE viruses.

Most people infected with TBE don’t have any symptoms, while one in three initially suffers from flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, and aching limbs. In rare cases, the spinal cord can be affected, with symptoms such as severe headaches and neck pain, nausea, and impaired consciousness.

In the majority of patients, the disease heals completely, but in an average of one percent of cases, it can be fatal. 

Luckily, there is a vaccination against TBE, which is recommended for those regularly visiting high-risk areas.

Where am I most likely to get bitten?

Ticks can be found all over Germany – even in city parks. However, TBE infections occur more frequently in so-called TBE risk areas, and the RKI has an updated map of these areas

These are found in large parts of Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, and parts of southern Hesse, Saxony, and Thuringia, but there are also isolated risk areas in central Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate, and Saarland. 

In February, the number of TBE risk areas was expanded by the RKI to include five new TBE risk areas in Bavaria, Saxony and Lower Saxony, so that there are now a total of 161 affected districts.

What should I do if I get bitten by a tick?

Firstly, it is unlikely that you will even feel the tick bite, which is why it’s important to check yourself carefully when returning from a trip to the countryside or a risk area. 

Ticks tend to bite around thin areas of the skin such as kneecaps, groin, armpits, and hairline. In children, they can often be found on the scalp and behind the ears.

Using tweezers is a good way to pull a tick out of the skin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-central picture | Patrick Pleul

If you do find a tick, you should remove it quickly with a special tick remover (available at all pharmacies), tweezers, or your fingernails. The sooner you can do this, the lower the risk the tick will be able to infect you.

The important thing is to make sure you remove the whole tick, by grabbing it as close to the skin as possible and pulling slowly. Then wash and clean the bite, and contact a doctor if you’re worried.

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about making a doctor’s appointment in Germany

One thing you shouldn’t do is to put oily liquids on the tick, as this could enrage it and cause it to release saliva potentially containing harmful pathogens.

How can I prevent a tick bite?

If you’ll be spending time in wooded areas, long grass, or known risk areas, you should wear long-sleeved tops and full-legged trousers and tuck trousers into socks. Children should also wear a hat, as ticks can climb to their height in bushes.

In short: have as little skin exposed as possible. 

It’s also sensible to wear light-coloured clothing so you can easily spot a tick if one bites you.

Useful vocabulary

tick = (die) Zecke = tick

tick bite = (der) Zeckenbiss

tweezers = (die) Pinzette

tick pliers = (die) Zeckenzange

We’re aiming to help our readers improve their German by translating vocabulary from some of our news stories. Did you find this article useful? Let us know.