Deutsche Version


Social psychiatry is a branch of modern psychiatry, that focuses primarily on social aspects of psychiatric disorders. It puts new concepts and initiatives into perspective to improve more need-adapted and participative health care structure. As one of the newer research and work areas, social psychiatry emphasizes mental health and mental health care to people from other countries of origin. In Germany, more than 16.3 million people have a migration background. They represent about 25 % of the German society while being a very heterogenetic group with diverse needs themselves. Therefore, it is even more important to offer person-centered psychological and psychiatric-psychotherapeutic care combined with professional intercultural competence to embrace their needs. Often barriers in communication and cultural knowledge 1) impede access to information and preventive programs, and 2) increase the risk for a faulty diagnostic process, which may lead to maltreatment. To reduce misunderstanding and misdiagnosis, it is crucial to take knowledge about their daily routines and culture-related explanatory models of health and sickness into account. Despite ongoing improvements in our psychiatric-psychotherapeutic health care system, there is still a need to ensure more appropriate care for people with a migration and flight history.

Aims of the research group

Our research group focuses on:

  • Impact of efforts concerning “intercultural opening” of mental health care, stepped-care approaches, and intersectorial mental health care initiatives ensuring need-adapted care to vulnerable groups of people  
  • Long-term stabilization and recovery processes of people with chronic psychiatric disorders and its derivative implications to improve the current mental health care and rehabilitation system
  • Diversity of symptom expression and the appropriateness of mental health care in response to individual features such as sex and gender, cultural, and socioeconomic context

Scientific collaborations

MHH-internal collaborations:

  • Prof. Dr. rer. biol. hum. Marie-Luise Dierks (Public Health)
  • Prof. Dr. Siegfried Geyer (Medical Sociology)
  • Priv.-Doz. Michael Stephan (Psychosomatics)

Germany-wide collaborations: 

  • DGPPN department of intercultural psychiatry and psychotherapy, migration
  • Prof. Dr.  Axel Kobelt-Pönicke, Psychosomatics of Deutschen Rentenversicherung Braunschweig-Hannover
  • Dr. med. Eric Hahn, Charité Berlin, Campus Benjamin Franklin
  • Prof. Dr. Marcel Sieberer, University Witten/Herdecke
  • Prof. Dr. med. Meryam Schouler-Ocak, Charité Berlin
  • Dr. med. Ahmad Bransi, Oberberg Fachklinik Weserbergland

International collaborations: 

  • Section of Cultural Psychiatry, EPA
  • Section of transcultural Psychiatry, WPA
  • World Association of Cultural Psychiatry, WACP

Research group members

Research group leaders

Prof. Dr. Iris Tatjana Graef-Calliess

Medical director and chief of general psychiatry, KRH Psychiatry Wunstorf

Phone: +49 5031 931201

Telefax: +49 5031 931207

Excellance at a glance:

  • Member of the expert group of S3-guideline for transcultural psychiatry & psychotherapy and migration
  • Member of the working group “Migration & public health”
  • Co-Chair of section intercultural psychiatry & psychotherapy, migration (DGPPN)
  • Chair der Section on Cultural Psychiatry der Europäischen Psychiatriegesellschaft (EPA)


Prof. Dr. med. Stefan Bleich

Prof. Dr. med. Stefan Bleich

Director of the Department of Psychiatry, Social Psychiatry and Psychotherapy

First chairman of AMSP

Phone: +49 511 532 6748


PD Dr. Dr. Felix Wedegärtner

Senior Physician

Phone: +49 511 532-5525