World Mental Health Day 2023: “Our Minds, Our Rights"


9 October 2023 (Budapest, Hungary) - Everyone, whoever and wherever they are, has a right to the highest attainable standard of mental health. This includes the right to be protected from mental health risks; the right to available, accessible, acceptable, and good quality care; and the right to liberty, independence and inclusion in the community. Migrants and refugees are particularly vulnerable to mental health risks: trauma, depression, shock, suicidal tendencies, labour or sexual exploitation, isolation, unemployment, financial insecurity, no safety net of family and friends, social exclusion, or just dealing with the everyday stresses of being a “stranger in a strange land.” Displaced people from Ukraine fleeing to Hungary experience many of these feelings as well, and are in need of somewhere to turn or just someone to talk to. The journey of a refugee can be arduous, and it is vital to address the emotional toll it may take. 

At the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Hungary we believe that mental health is just as important as physical health. Taking care of one’s mental health is an essential step in rebuilding one’s life after displacement. As an integral element of IOM’s Ukraine emergency response, our compassionate team of multilingual mental health professionals have been providing essential, free mental health services tailored specifically for Ukrainian refugees. 

“Our counselling rooms provide safe havens for open discussions with our diverse team of multilingual mental health professionals where privacy and confidentiality are respected. We acknowledge the cultural uniqueness of each individual and incorporate this understanding into our therapeutic techniques. And our focus is not only on mental health but also on promoting overall wellbeing, empowering refugees to lead fulfilling lives. The greatest value for us is human life, and we do everything possible to ensure that the quality of life of the people who contact us becomes higher.”  – Natalia Kornieieva, IOM Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Specialist

Mental health is a universal human right. Good mental health is vital to our overall health and well-being. Yet one in eight people globally are living with mental health conditions, which can impact their physical health, their well-being, how they connect with others, and their livelihoods.  

“We understand that everyone's journey is unique, which is why our confidential, free individual therapy sessions offer personalized support. Our skilled therapists work closely with each refugee to address specific concerns and develop coping strategies to navigate the complexities of life as a displaced individual.”– Dániel Bagaméri, Head of Office IOM Hungary

IOM Hungary group therapy sessions at the Budapest Helps! Info and Community Center provide a nurturing environment where refugees can share experiences, feelings, and challenges. By connecting with others who have walked similar paths, participants find solace in knowing they are not alone. Sharing thoughts and emotions within a supportive group fosters resilience and creates a sense of community that can significantly contribute to healing. Group sessions are held on topics such as: “Understand Yourself! (Children Aged 9-12)” - The social trainings to develop and strengthen the teenage self; and “Parenting Strategies and Problem Solving!” - a supportive environment where parents can address challenging issues concerning their children and themselves that uses contemporary literature and movie clips to help focus the discussions. In addition, the Art'e Art Platform, organized by the local NGO Unity and funded by IOM, is a space that helps Ukrainians who have been forced to move to Budapest find their social circle through activities for the soul. Art’e Art programmes include relaxation and creative expression such as art therapy, art classes, meditation, yoga and other therapeutic activities.

Are you or someone you know a Ukrainian refugee seeking a safe space to address mental health challenges and foster emotional well-being? IOM Hungary is here to extend a helping hand and provide essential mental health services tailored specifically for Ukrainian refugees.

Schedule an appointment or learn more about our mental health services: 
📧 Email:
☎️ Phone: +36 1 472 2500


Since the launch of the MHPSS services as part IOM Hungary's Ukraine emergency response, individual and group sessions were supported by Government of Austria, Council of Europe Bank (CEB), German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO), United States Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) and the Republic of Korea. Currently, IOM Hungary’s mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) services are provided as part of the Enhancing Social Inclusion Opportunities for Displaced People Fleeing Ukraine Project (MMIA-2.2.15/17-2023-00003) between September-December 2023 with a total funding of HUF 120,440,693. The project is co-financed by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund of the European Union (75%) and the Hungarian Ministry of Interior (25%).

Art'e Art Platform activities are funded by the Government of Japan.


SDG 3 - Good Health and Well Being