Who is behind REDEZEIT FÜR DICH?

Since March 2020, REDEZEIT FÜR DICH has offered everyone a free and timely opportunity to share personal overloads, worries and fears with trained listeners. Back then, Corona had made us lonely, awakened unimagined fears and sometimes deprived us of structure and support in everyday life. Our home became a studio for meetings, the family table replaced the canteen or snack bar. Taking care of children, playing and learning together and even cooking reprioritised our to-do lists. The people around us functioned. But who was willing and able to listen to our worries and needs in addition to the personal challenges and to encourage us exhausted people? 4 coaches didn't want to stand by any longer. They opened the door for an uncomplicated kind of exchange by enlisting experienced ears from their professional environment to unload worries and draw strength. Today, almost 400 trained listeners, coaches and therapists are involved in REDEZEIT FÜR DICH.  How do you successfully implement a brilliant idea in a crisis? How do you win over so many experts in such a short time? What would have happened without the virus? Let's ask Ute and Florian, two founders and designers, and take a look behind the scenes. Christian and Annika, the other two start-up coaches, discovered other focal points for themselves relatively early on, to which they now devote their attention.

Dear Ute and Florian,

I have taken SPEECH TIME FOR YOU literally and created a colourful catalogue of questions so that our readers can follow the path from the idea to the globally accessible platform. Please tell us about the strenuous climbs, the beautiful vantage points and when the going was easy. What particularly touched you, unsettled you, confirmed you or made you think? I am curious about your thoughts, impulses and experiences.  Ute and Flo answered the questions in writing and independently of each other. 


Do you remember a situation in your life when you had an urgent need to talk to someone and no one was there for you? How did you deal with it and what did it do to you?

Ute: With me it was rather the other way round: I didn't talk. I was a shy and quiet child, I did a lot of things on my own. And as a child I suffered from the fact that feelings were apparently worth less than reason. For a long time I thought I was stupid. And of course no one was allowed to know that. That's why I didn't talk.

With REDEZEIT FÜR DICH (SPEAKING TIME FOR YOU) I say: Have confidence, we are there and listen. Because I'm pretty good at that.

Florian: Oh, that's a very good question. Yes, I've been in that situation many times in my life. I remember very well the time when I was in a crisis in my family. Even though I often talked to friends who helped me in between, I often reached points where I couldn't talk to anyone because I didn't know if I was being understood. There were moments when I reached existential abysses. Divorce was on the cards and I was often so overwhelmed by the severity of the crisis that I felt alone.


Everything starts with an idea or a formative event. What was the trigger for REDEZEIT FÜR DICH? How did Florian find Ute or vice versa?

Ute: Florian found me. I am a city leader in Hamburg for the sidewalk talk initiative ( www.sidewalk-talk.org) and Flo found me through my online presence. However, to take sidewalk talk to the streets, you need resources that I couldn't manage on my own. That's why the original idea was to get the project off the ground together with Flo. And then came Covid-19 ...

Florian: I came across this film on Facebook about the SIDEWALK TALKS movement in America. People took chairs and sat down in busy squares to lend their ears to other people. A great human gesture that I really wanted to realise in Hamburg. I found Ute listed as a City Leader in Hamburg for this and I simply contacted her. Although we met several times, we didn't manage to realise it in Hamburg. Because then Corona came along and the thought arose: "Can't we offer this digitally, i.e. lend our ear, now that everyone has to stay at home?" And thus REDEZEIT FÜR DICH was born. Together with Christian and Annika, we started our social media campaign very simply and quickly, from which we have been able to develop our great initiative to this day.


How do you become a listener? How do interested parties and listeners find each other for a conversation?

Ute: Initially there were only four of us, but we want to invite other coaches to join us. After our invitation in the social media, we already had 150 enquiries after 1 week. This went on and on, and we are still receiving enquiries from potential listeners.

There are now almost 400 coaches listed on our platform. Those interested with a need to talk can search for topics that are bothering them and then simply write an email to the desired coach or coaches and ask to talk directly.

Florian: Right from the start, we set out to make it as easy as possible for all people who were looking for someone to talk to. Simply go to the website, select your request and contact one of the listed listeners. To this day, it is important to us that the listeners are trained and have experience as experts, and that they approach people and their concerns sensitively. Accordingly: If you have this expertise and a little time, you are welcome to join us.


Emotions determine our thoughts, our behaviour and thus our lives. External influences such as the Corona crisis or the war in Ukraine have brought fear, uncertainty and a significant increase in stress into our everyday lives, especially for families. What does mental health mean to you and what contribution does REDEZEIT FÜR DICH make?

Ute: We talk about mental health, which means much more than the absence of mental or psychological impairments. Mental health also includes positive aspects such as well-being, job satisfaction and all individual or work-related resources. This expanded concept of health is also anchored in WHO documents.

Most services do not provide preventive treatment, but only combat the symptoms of illness. We start well before that and deliberately at a low threshold. Long-term dissatisfaction can also lead to health risks.

Florian: Mental health means first of all feeling comfortable in one's own skin and being at peace with oneself. It is virtually a human right. However, many people are not aware of their mental health. They know that they want to be physically healthy and do a lot for it. Often, however, the awareness of mental well-being falls by the wayside. REDEZEIT FÜR DICH wants to start exactly there: We want to sensitise people to perceive their mental burdens and limits and to deal with them. And we want to encourage and develop the confidence to be able to talk to people about their own stresses and strains.


The round Coronavirus got everything rolling. Where will your focus be in the future? What are your plans for the next 3 to 5 years?

Ute: The concept of mental health is essentially seen in connection with the dimensions of work and functional ability. It is a decisive prerequisite for participation in working life. For some time now, we have also found this reflected in the increasing importance of workplace health management (WHM). Here we want to establish ourselves - in addition to the individual offer - together with our audience as a complementary offer.

Florian: We want to sensitise society to deal with mental stress at an earlier stage so that mental illnesses can be recognised and tackled earlier. REDEZEIT aims to become a mental health institution with a well-established community of trained listeners. We want to lend weight to our voice so that we can get involved in society and contribute to mental health. We are committed to helping break down the stigma of mental illness. We are not in competition with existing institutions such as the telephone counselling service, but would like to complement them with our own mission.

REDEZEIT FÜR DICH – Volunteering

Both of you as well as the organising team and all listeners of REDEZEIT FÜR DICH are committed in their free time to helping people who have lost their mental footing. Whether it is for a short time due to an unexpected event, stress or excessive demands, or as an offer during the long waiting times for a therapy place. How did you come to volunteer? Have you been able to bring in experience from other areas? How much time do you give per week and what do you take a back seat to?

Ute: In the search for suitable, also feasible concepts, we wanted to support people with sidewalk talk. This was and still is a smart idea. The lockdown increased the urgency and it was also quickly clear that we were working pro bono. Each of us works full-time in very different jobs and contributes with our own know-how. And each of us also donates different amounts of time. From time to time we reach our limits, especially when too many other things fall by the wayside. Then we have to reorganise ourselves again. This is a process, just like in any other company. We learn in and through this process. It is sometimes frustrating, but always very exciting. I have reduced my working hours from 40 to 20. Primarily for health reasons, but also and especially because I wanted to have more time for coaching. And that means for the organisation.

Florian: I'll be honest, I never had anything to do with volunteering before. It evolved there, and without any discussion, because it was clear to us that we wanted to create something that could help everyone. With easy access and no costs or obligations. Something that rarely exists in our society.

I myself brought my communication skills from my profession and the inexhaustible drive to make access possible for all people. In addition, I was able to build up a good network over the last few years with many great people who believed in REDEZEIT from the very first minute, supported us and continue to do so. This is not a matter of course for us and we are very grateful to all of them! This also includes all the volunteer listeners and the entire organising team. All of them make REDEZEIT REDEZEIT.

In the meantime, REDEZEIT has become my Ikigai ❤️ The Japanese concept, which can be roughly translated as "meaning of life", is becoming more and more popular in this country. After all, it is considered the key to a healthy and happy life. And somehow working with this great team and the many volunteer listeners gives me a lot of strength and energy. They drive me to constantly take on new challenges that are important for the growth of REDEZEIT. Through all of them I can grow beyond myself.

I spend almost every day talking.


Now it's your turn, what do you do professionally and privately, what do you burn for and what moves you?

Ute: I have more than 30 years of professional experience as a member of the management of a medium-sized company. At REDEZEIT FÜR DICH gUG I am responsible for the commercial management. I have also been working as a part-time coach and mental trainer for more than 13 years.

I like to observe. I am interested in dialogues that can be perceived through our senses and are essentially non-verbal. As a systemic coach, I have experienced time and again in constellation work that people, as representatives, take on feelings that are not their own. This ability fascinates and touches me very much.

Florian: Professionally, I currently take care of many digital projects and the editorial work for a Hamburg online magazine that is affiliated with Hamburg Marketing GmbH. There, I take care of the editorial content and also produce a podcast called #ueberdentellerrand. Furthermore, I co-host the podcast ECHTE PAPAS, where I talk a lot about being a father with Marco Krahl, editorial director of Men's Health Dad, and ever-changing interviewees. I do this very much out of conviction, because I enjoy being a dad in my private life. This task has made me grow again and again from the very first minute and continues to make me grow.

Privately, I spend as much time as possible with my family. The pandemic has brought us even closer together. So we also bought a camper van, with which we travel a lot and also work from the road sometimes. That gives me a lot of energy, my family and travelling. And that grows, no matter in which area.


Leading an initiative with so many people, organising it and bringing the idea to the world requires a lot of commitment and a wide range of skills. To me, your cooperation seems very respectful and like the interlocking of a high-quality zip, accurate, almost noiseless, fast and reliable. How do you manage that? I'm sure it's not always that easy, would you like to share an episode with us?

Ute: We have one or two challenges, of course, also emotionally. Flo and I didn't know each other before and are not even the same age, which doesn't mean much, but makes a difference in our background experience. Respectfully, however, we both can. We trust each other and our success proves us right. We share the same values and come together over and over again.

Personally, I have learned a lot from and with Flo and I am very grateful that we are walking this path together. We are part of a team and vice versa. Just like a zip, our values, desires, competencies, personalities intertwine and complement each other in a miraculous way. That is also somewhat magical.

We are in a process that is self-sustaining. This needs a clear objective, strong values and trust in each individual who helps to shape this process.

Florian: I laugh! It's nice that it looks like that to the outside world, and it also honours me. I am also very grateful for the collaboration with Ute! I think we are two characters who can complement each other well. We grow on each other and can also discuss things at length with each other sometimes. In the end, we always know what we are doing it all for.

Ute is a very strategic thinker in our combination. She is good at slowing me down to think step by step. I, on the other hand, am often very quick to act due to my daily work and the abundance of it.

All in all, however, we are also just one part of a great team that we want to empower to use volunteer time wisely and to be able to fully contribute, to be a tangibly important part of the team ourselves. So I am very proud of our attitude that we can let things go, experiment, try things out. We don't want to be a rigid volunteer apparatus that manages itself.


Who do you want to address with REDEZEIT FÜR DICH? The concept is aimed at every individual as well as employees in companies. How did the cooperation with companies come about and what makes it so special?

Ute: The unique selling point of REDEZEIT FÜR DICH is its unrestricted anonymity, which is not disclosed even to the company management. This is important, because not every worker wants to or is able to reveal him/herself to the employer. But only when the truth is given space can it unfold, solutions can be found and recovery can begin.

Florian: I think the two are mutually dependent. First and foremost, we are there for everyone. No matter what religion, origin, skin colour, gender or conviction. Mental health is a human right for everyone. And these people move around in many different places. Their workplace is often the place where they spend a lot longer and where a lot of mental stress occurs.

Together with the companies, we also want to use this place to make people aware of their mental stresses and limitations. In marketing speak, the workplaces are a touch point to be able to use our offer of help when they would not come into contact with it in other places.


Clearly, questions are constricting. That's why this is the place to share everything that's on your heart and mind.

Ute: We are on an extraordinary journey with the REDEZEITTeam and all the coaches. REDEZEIT FOR YOU gives me the opportunity to invest in a future that I believe is worth living. Alone I can do little, but together much is possible.

This has a great strength for me, which carries me and for which I am very grateful. Not only in these troubled times, but as a human being.

Florian: I am honest, I am very grateful about all those who believe in REDEZEIT and support REDEZEIT to help other people. I personally don't take that for granted. And I think very, very often about how we can give something back to all the supporters, volunteers and team members for their time and their so important commitment! Maybe one day I will figure it out. Or maybe it will remain unresolved and always become an important source of energy to fuel my own commitment.


How was REDEZEIT FÜR DICH received? Who was reached and what feedback did you receive?

Ute: Hach - Flo can answer that better.

Florian: REDEZEIT is very positively received - whether by people looking for help or people looking for voluntary work themselves. But also by people who want to help other people. Since the first minute, we have reached families, elderly people in their lonely homes and even management consultants in their completely new work situations called home office, which they never had to deal with before.

Currently, we also provide our assistance in Ukrainian and Russian.

By the way, this drives me just as much as the search for expressing my gratitude: how can we measure our impact even more and make visible all the people we help. I think about this every day, and yet I am glad that we are low-threshold and therefore it is inherently difficult to express our help in absolute numbers.


Are there people or organisations that support REDEZEIT FÜR DICH?

Ute: Oh yes - Flo is the RIGHT person for the answer there too. Essentially, our supporters are on the website.

Florian: Oh, there are so many that I cannot list them all. But we are very grateful for all of them and hope that we can work with many more.


Was there a conversation that particularly touched you as a listener? What could you deduce or take away for yourself personally?

Ute: Shortly after the first lockdown, a young mother called me who was overwhelmed and desperate because of the acutely cramped domestic situation. It was then that I first became very aware of how fragile our seemingly safe lives are. Sometimes it is enough to know: You are not alone and it is perfectly okay to get help. We want to support everyone in this, especially those who call REDEZEIT FÜR DICH.

Flo and I naturally talk to each other when it comes to organisational leadership. That always inspires me, because these conversations are as challenging and colourful as life itself. I learn a lot - about the organisation, about life and about myself. That is priceless.

Florian: All the conversations I have had have always had something horizon-expanding for me. Even if I was only a small part of the topic, as an observer so to speak, I immediately felt myself in the shoes of the participants. Especially the conversations about family crises and conflicts affected me very much and strengthened my conviction of REDEZEIT. We need a place where we can talk to someone in a protected way, at a distance, without judgement or condemnation.


How do you finance yourselves and how can enthusiastic people support REDEZEIT FÜR DICH?

Ute: About donations or offers for companies. There is also a button for donations on the website.

Florian: We welcome donations from everyone who believes in us and REDEZEIT. With this we can cover our fortunately few costs and also still create visibility, which has unfortunately become an important issue today: Not to get lost in all the masses of information piling up on us every day and to remain invisible.

Furthermore, companies support us by being able to buy REDEZEIT as a complementary tool for their company health management, ultimately safeguarding our work on society.


What are your wishes for yourself personally and for REDEZEIT FÜR DICH?

Ute: In order to maintain our quality standards and achieve our goals, we are looking for people who want to get involved with us and for the initiative. This allows us all a little more freedom for other important things in life. Mental health is also an important issue for ourselves. We must not forget that in all our commitment.

Florian: I very much wish that REDEZEIT can help many more people and that we all learn to listen to our mental health. Like our physical integrity, it is the most important thing we have. Life is worse without mental well-being. Nobody should!

Annett Lossack

About the author

Annett Lossack is part of the REDEZEIT FÜR DICH blog team and is there as a listener for all worries about jobs, family and the future.

As a coach and momentum builder, she supports people in jumping over life's hurdles and helps to rediscover happiness. Words are keys to undiscovered doors, her texts are the access to new information and open new spaces of thinking and living.