The Multi Ethnic Counselling Service

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 / 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 delay there has been be. We are doing our best to help as many people as possible during this unprecedented, difficult 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. This page will be constantly updated as we hear information for the government and NHS services. 

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.

 100 refugees and asylum seekers will be offered individual counselling during the course of a year. MECS offer an initial assessment to all refugee and asylum seeker referrals in order to understand their needs, expectations and whether we are. 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 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, Twi and Urdu.

Counselling provides a forum and thinking space for clients to explore some of their emotional responses related to their past and present. The therapeutic relationship creates a safe space for clients to explore their presenting problems and to feel more stable in their emotional and cognitive understanding of what has happened and what is happening to them now.

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.