UNHCR’s mental health and psychosocial support

Meyer, S., Eds.: UNHCR, (2013)

A broad range of UNHCR’s key priorities overlap with MHPSS issues – for example, child protection and sexual and gender-based violence [SGBV] prevention and response. Despite all these existent synergies, UNHCR’s current policies and guidelines do not sufficiently link with MHPSS principles. For example, the Community Services section, which is closely aligned to the principles of MHPSS and could be well-positioned to guide the implementation of related programs, has not adopted the MHPSS language or approach. There are opportunities for UNHCR to engage more strongly and clearly in this field. However, this requires a vision for how the organisation as a whole, and particular sectors within the organisation, will engage within the field of MHPSS activities. For a start, UNHCR can work to improve its understanding and framing of mental health and psychosocial issues, and how these issues fit within its broader mandate. While the majority of MHPSS activities are delivered by implementing partners, UNHCR staff require familiarity with core principles in the field, such as the Intervention Pyramid contained in the IASC Guidelines, in order to support and monitor quality MHPSS activities.

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