An image of a German fire truck
The RUPERT project is one of 15 projects globally to receive Movember fundingImage by: Kilian Seiler / Unsplash
An image of a German fire truck
19 October 2022

Movember-funded online mental health service launched for German emergency services

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German emergency service workers can now access specialised male-focused online mental health resources and support, thanks to Movember.

The RUPERT project developed by Diskussionsforum Depression e.V. and the Stiftung Deutsche Depressionshilfe (German Depression Aid Foundation),is a German language mental health platform aimed at emergency service workers and their families.

There is growing evidence that firefighters, paramedics, police officers and military veterans are at increased risk of poor mental health and suicide as they are exposed to a high degree of chronic stress and potentially traumatic events. In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic and staff shortages have compounded pressures on emergency service workers.

Exposure to traumatic events, such as major incidents, can trigger post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health challenges, including depression.

" Studies have shown that the prevalence of PTSD in the emergency services in Germany ranges from 6% to 36% (compared to 2.5% of the general population). "

"Rescue workers are considered at risk for stress disorders and depression due to the heavy physical and mental stress. However, there is still a lack of education and prevention on offer," says Dr Nico Niedermeier, a psychotherapeutic medicine specialist and moderator on Diskussionsforum Depression e.V.

Although many programs aiming to support emergency service workers exist, a 2019 report commissioned by Movember, found a lack of publicly available evidence showing the effectiveness of such programs.

In response, Movember launched the Veterans and First Responders Mental Health Grant Program in September 2020. The aim was to identify promising mental health or suicide prevention programs and demonstrate their effectiveness through rigorous program evaluation.

The RUPERT project is one of 15 projects from around the globe that received funding through the Veterans and First Responders Mental Health Grant Program. The initiative is a collaboration between Movember and The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, with additional funding from Gillette in the UK and Europe.

Ivy Lim-Carter, Director, Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Programs, at Movember, says: “We owe an enormous debt to our veterans and first responder communities who have always supported Movember in raising awareness of men’s mental health. Movember is delighted to be working with Diskussionsforum Depression e.V. to help build evidence that proves the RUPERT program positively impacts mental health outcomes in the German first responder community and truly make a difference to the lives of these men and their families.”

Nine Knecht, Germany/Austria/Switzerland Director of Communications, Grooming at P&G, said: “A group of professionals who frequently come into contact with the topic of health are first aiders, emergency & rescue services and medical professionals.

“Their work is often hard on the body and mind. And they are particularly affected by the topic of mental health. Gillette is active in initiatives in this area, and we are proud of our donation to Movember to support the ‘Diskussionsforum Depression e.V.’, so that a place has been created, which emergency services workers and their families can turn to.”

In Germany, 68% of those employed in emergency medical services are men. Studies of men in the medical services have shown an increased fear of stigmatisation and a lack of help-seeking behaviour.

"The fear of career disadvantages or being seen as 'weak and unmanly' unfortunately still prevents many rescue workers from seeking professional help when mental stress increases," says Dr Niedermeier.

The RUPERT project has been designed to appeal to men, although all emergency service workers can benefit from it. The platform includes an online discussion forum where users can connect with others from the community 24/7, expert chats, and an information platform which includes self-help strategies and where to get help.

Dr Niedermeier says: "The more rescue workers are informed about the topic, lose their fear of stigmatisation, admit to stress and talk about it, the more likely that mental health challenges can prevented in time or be treated.”

To help evaluate the project, the researchers are now actively seeking paramedics from German emergency services to give their feedback on the site. To take part register here.

For more information on the RUPERT project visit