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Vincent Simon van Grondelle

Our work in providing specialised and essential psychosocial care is grounded in a profound and well-developed Theory of Change. Such a framework is defined as “a systematic approach that enables organizations to articulate their vision for change, define desired outcomes, and strategize the necessary steps to achieve them” (SoPact, 2023). In this publication, you can read the foundation of our organisation, helping to understand the urgency of our long-term vision: free mental health care for all.

The problem we aim to solve

In Spain, marginalized communities such as refugees, LGBTQ+ individuals and others face significant challenges such as poverty and social exclusion, which simultaneously limits access to educational and labor opportunities. In turn, research shows that these factors strongly contribute to poor mental and overall well-being. At the same time, these communities cannot afford private mental healthcare, and struggle to enter the complex public healthcare system. After all, Spanish public funding for mental health services falls far short of EU standards, representing only 0.6% of Spain’s GDP, with the lowest EU rates of psychologists per capita, creating long waiting lists and fragmented, unspecialised support.

The cumulative impact of existing challenges and the lack of adequate mental health support create a vicious cycle that further perpetuates poverty and social exclusion, and thus worsens people’s mental well-being, and vice versa.

The solution that we provide

After years of experience with coordinating highly-skilled volunteers in different sectors, our team has seen the huge potential of utilizing expert volunteer teams to provide highly-needed social solutions in a cost-effective way, returning not a financial gain to volunteers, but genuine fulfillment, skill development and access to a grand professional network, made possible by strong coordination and volunteer support.

Therefore, in response to the societal challenges described, Iguality aims to empower vulnerable individuals through weekly individual therapy sessions, offered by professional volunteer therapists who are motivated by a commitment to a better world and their personal development. The online or in-person sessions last between 60-120 minutes, and the provided therapy ranges from traditional counseling to art therapy. Moreover, we also offer group sports activities, free physiotherapy, additional LGBTQ+ support and legal advice to ensure a holistic approach to care.

“Iguality offered me free psychological support through their amazing volunteers, which helped me regain my confidence and thrust.”

The current (and future) impact of our work

Since August 2022, we have already reached more than 40 individuals, offering them 10 psychosocial support sessions on average, each lasting 1.25h on average (as per December 2023). By prioritizing and supporting their mental and overall well-being, our beneficiaries not only reported enhanced mental well-being and improved overall quality of life, they also have been able to improve other essential areas like their career, family life and education. After all, achieving personal growth and overcoming challenges becomes immensely difficult without a strong foundation of emotional resilience.

Yet, our current impact is limited by our small funding, which covers only basic operational expenses, making us rely on a volunteer coordination team, which restricts our ability to sustain ourselves in the long-term, expand our reach and enhance the quality of care. Therefore, with profound financial backing, we project that in a one year-period, we can reach over 100 individuals with our psychosocial support.

Do you want to help us to reach our next goal?

This post is written by Vincent Simon van Grondelle

Vincent is coordinator of Iguality and has founded the organisation in 2022. His focus has always been on combating structural inequities and bringing communities together to make a positive social impact in society.