The Multi Ethnic Counselling Service

Covid-19 Update, September 2020

We continue to provide our Multi-Ethnic Counselling Service to many of London’s most vulnerable and at risk individuals. We are now conducting all counselling remotely via telephone and video conferencing technologies.

If you are an Asylum-Seeker or Refugee and would like to join the waiting list for language counselling please fill in form on this page and the administrative team will get back to you as soon as possible. Alternatively, your GP or case worker can also use the form to refer you to our services. You can see a list of languages we offer further down the page.

If you are living in Lambeth or Southwark and want to access our language service you must be referred via your GP or local IAPT service. Ask your GP for more information.

We know that some of you have been waiting to start your counselling sessions or for an initial assessment appointment and we apologise for any delays. We are doing our best to help as many people as possible during this difficult and unprecedented time. For those of you with whom we cannot work with over the phone or online, we will contact you as soon as we are able to offering face-to-face appointments again.

What is the Multi-Ethnic Counselling Service?

The Multi-Ethnic Counselling Service (MECS) was set up in 2004 to provide mother-tongue counselling to migrants, refugees and asylum seekers at no cost to the clients.  Many of our referrals have complex psychological and emotional problems arising from traumatic experiences in their countries of origin such as torture and persecution as a consequence of civil warfare and conflict. From our centre we provide service users with individual, mother tongue counselling and group support as well as signposting to other organisations to address their pragmatic and practical difficulties.

What will happen if I am referred to MECS?

At MECS we offer an initial assessment to all refugee and asylum seeking referrals in order to understand your needs, expectations and whether we are a suitable service for you.

Clients are usually offered mother-tongue counselling for up to 12 sessions. We have the capacity to work in many different languages. Mother tongue counselling can currently be provided in the following languages: Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Bengali, Cantonese, Farsi, Farsi (Dari), French, Hindi, Italian, Kurdish, Mandarin, Pashto, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tamil, Turkish, Tigrinya, Twi and Urdu.

What is the point of counselling?

Counselling provides a safe, thinking space for you to explore some of your emotional responses related to your past experiences and your present situation.

Through building a trusting therapeutic relationship with your counsellor and by receiving culturally-sensitive talking therapy at our service, we hope you will be able to explore any problems you are having.

With the counsellor you will talk together to feel more stable in your emotions and better understand what has happened in the past, and what is happening to you in your life now.

How do I make a referral to MECS?

If you require mother tongue counselling and you / your referral is a Lambeth resident or registered with a GP in Lambeth, you will need to contact Lambeth IAPT to be referred to our MECS service. Phone: 0203 228 6747 Email:

  • If you require mother tongue counselling and you / your referral is a Southwark resident or registered with a GP in Southwark, you will need to contact Southwark IAPT, Phone: 0203 228 2194 Email:
  • If you / your referral requires mother tongue counselling and is a refugee or asylum seeker, please fill out our MECS Referral Form. You can also download the form and email it to us at

Please note we currently only have the capacity to work with service users who are / above the age of 18.