The Psycho-Social Services and Training Institute in Cairo (PSTIC) began in 2009.




Its staff and graduates form a network that is a hub for mental health and psychosocial support for refugees in Cairo. PSTIC graduated: 17 refugees as Psychosocial Workers (PSW) in May 2010; 23 in June 2011; presently 30 are in training in 2012-13.

The PSTIC Trainers and Supervisors are multinational. They include an American Director - Trainer; Eritrean Deputy Director; Egyptian Mental Health Coordinator; 4 Egyptian psychiatrists as Trainers and Professional Supervisors; 6 Refugee Team Leaders; 35 Psychosocial Workers; 3 Housing Advocates; 4 Coordinators for Sport-Art-Theater activities; Administrative Assistant; and part time Accountant.

PSTIC offers a range of training courses and workshops and through its professional supervision oversees mental health and psychosocial support services provided to refugees and asylum seekers.

Referrals of people in need come to PSTIC affiliated PSWs from their Communities; UNHCR; NGOs CBOs; or self referral.

PSTIC activities include:


PSTIC facilitates a hub for a network of PSWs assisting all of the major refugee and asylum seeking communities in Cairo through its ongoing commitment to select, train, maintain and oversee the activities of its affiliated PSWs. 

PSTIC is an active participant in meetings between the UNHCR, NGOs, CBOs, hospitals, government services and community groups to ensure collaborative complimentary supportive services that support the psychosocial well-being of all refugees.


Certificate courses in affiliation with the American University in Cairo (AUC) Center for Migration and Refugee Studies (CMRS):

Community Based Psychosocial Workers (specifically for training refugees to assist their own communities)

  • Level 1 (7 month course / 375 hours plus supervision)
  • Level 2 (5 month course / 100 hours plus supervision)

Ongoing training topics for long standing Psychosocial Workers based on need.


  • Psychiatric care for survivors of violence
  • State-of-the-art emergency mental health and psychosocial response including Psychological First Aid
  • Skills for managing complex mental health cases
  • Understanding psychosocial and mental health issues for interpreters
  • Interviewing skills for lawyers
  • Capacity building of community volunteers to provide mental health and psychosocial support
  • Conflict mediation skills
  • Promoting psychosocial wellbeing in the classroom / training for teachers

Training for Community Leaders in crisis intervention and methods of support to vulnerable members.

Training for other NGOs including legal aid, humanitarian, counseling workers in interviewing skills.


Community-Based Psychosocial Workers (PSW) trained and supervised by PSTIC provide psychosocial and mental health support to refugees by refugees in their own language and in accordance with their culture and traditions. These workers originate from the countries of Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Somalia, and North and South Sudan (including Darfur, Nuba Mountains and other regions) and Syria.

PSTIC affiliated Psychosocial Workers are based in programs that assist refugees including schools, health clinics, legal aid centers, mental health clinics, community sponsored organizations, NGOs etc. and his or her work is integrated into the activities of these programs.

The PSW activities include:

Community Based Psychosocial Support

  • Case management
  • Individual and family support, home visits, counseling and problem solving
  • Support to survivors of violence (torture, gender based violence, detention etc)
  • Support for adults and children with issues related to their protection
  • Crisis intervention 24/7 for issues arising due to eviction, detention, serious mental illness, suicide, domestic or community violence etc.
  • Referral and accompaniment to mental health, medical, legal, human rights and education services.
  • Community based support groups for women, men, youth, SGBV, parenting, support to families with members with disabilities etc.

Community Activities 

  • Ongoing assessment to highlight changing need of refugee and asylum seeker communities
  • Community based awareness raising workshops in refugee communities to increase understanding of issues that affect psychosocial well being, protection and rights
  • Facilitation of community volunteer crises teams
  • Advocacy for issues of protection, rights, legal aid, housing, community support etc.
  • Conflict mediation for family, neighbor or community issues
  • Support to children with disabilities via school placement and family support.
  • Sport clubs for children and youth including Egyptian and Refugee youth
  • Art workshops for children and youth including Egyptian and Refugee youth and those with disabilities
  • Art workshops including dressmaking for refugee women
  • Employment placement for domestic workers

Housing Initiative for qualified people of concern

  • Emergency 24/7 response
  •  Support for people with housing issues due to eviction, disputes, domestic violence, inability to find   housing, discrimination, issues of protection, lack of roommates etc.
  •  Referrals accepted from PSTIC PSWs UNHCR and NGO partner organizations
  • Placement in established apartments with community members.
  • Matching of roommates for emergency or long-term placement in existing apartments.
  • Short-term hotel placement.
  • Placement in temporary PSTIC organized shelter when no community options are available.
  • Financial support for security deposit and first month rent for new asylum seekers with no community options.
  • Capacity building in financial management to assist people of concern to properly budget for housing expenses.
  • Advocacy to landlords to maintain housing and avoid evictions.
  • Securing of housing for children in need of protection with supportive caregivers.
  • Securing of housing for women in need of protection.
  • Advocacy to UNHCR and service providers for financial assistance for people in need of emergency financial assistance related to housing.

Mental Health Activities

  • Assessment of refugees and asylum seekers presenting mental health issues to determine need.
  • Referral to outpatient mental health services
  • Referral, when no outpatient service is sufficient, for inpatient mental health care
  • Provision of community-based Psychosocial Worker for patients needing mental health treatment in order to provide awareness raising of mental health issues, support to patient, family and community and follow-up to promote compliance to medication.
  • Crisis intervention (24/7) for mental health issues
  • Groups (for survivors of trauma, stress reduction, sleep disorders, minimization of somatic complaints, alcohol-drug abuse etc) to prevent and minimize stress and anxiety related disorders.
  • Training of psychiatrists in the government system to facilitate availability of quality care.

Support for children in need of protection

  • Community awareness workshops about child rearing for general population.
  • Awareness raising with community leaders to increase their awareness and responsibility for children
  • Parenting education one-on-one and in groups for parents who are neglecting or abusing their children
  • Case management and provision of psychosocial support to children who are neglected, abused and/or may be in need of protection by PSW in child protection
  • Community based assessment of children/families suspected to have protection issues
  • Overseeing of care provided by parent-caregiver
  • Assistance in placement with capable caregiver when family care is not sufficient
  • Advocacy for institutional care when no other resources available.
  • Referral, advocacy and accompaniment for legal, medical, health, mental health care etc as needed. 
  • Provision of temporary support for basic needs while needed services are being arranged.
  • Crisis intervention
  • Participation in BID meetings and planning
  • Provision of sport, art activities to provide stimulation and healthy, structured activity

One average month’s statistics

35 Psychosocial workers assisted:

  • 735 Active cases (1944 beneficiaries)
  • 188 New psychosocial and mental health cases
  • 33 Crises involving theft, assault, death, eviction, health, mental health emergencies including suicide, trafficking, child protection, and addiction.
  • 16 Support groups for 159 people for victims of trafficking, youth, parenting, single mothers, survivors of SGBV, parents of children with disabilities
  • 11 Psychosocial Awareness workshops for 114 people.
  • 47 Community meetings for 566 people

Psychosocial workers made referrals to:

  • Mental health: 64 Outpatient clinics / 8 Inpatient hospitalization
  • 145 Health care
  • 123 Financial assistance
  • 48 Legal aid
  • 92 Basic needs

Refugee participants in activities:
25 volunteer coaches                          
163 participants in 13 Art workshops
90 participants in Music – Dance        
90 participants in fair play workshops
650 participants in Football, Table tennis, Volleyball