Mental Health & Psychosocial Support Good Practice Guide launched on World Humanitarian Day

News | August 18, 2023

CBM Global Disability Inclusion is excited to launch a Good Practice Guide on Inclusive Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) on World Humanitarian Day.  

Based on 20 years of experience (CBM’s first MHPSS response was to the Asian tsunami of 2004 in Aceh), this guidance helps all actors engaged in emergency response to ensure that their MHPSS activities are inclusive. It is fully aligned to, and uses the structure of the IASC Guidelines, to share examples of good practices at all levels of the MHPSS intervention pyramid, from provision of basic needs, to inclusive mental health services.  In this way, we hope to contribute to the great progress of MHPSS, by making sure everyone can benefit from this support in some of the most challenging of times.

World Humanitarian Day on August 19th is an annual opportunity to remember the importance of the world coming together to provide essential support during emergencies of all types.

Mental Health and Psychosocial Support is now firmly established as an integral part of most major emergencies, and the importance of this was realised throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, when the wide range of MHPSS activities from neighbours looking out for each other’s basic needs, to protecting access to essential mental health care was demonstrated. MHPSS interventions continue to play an essential role in outbreaks, as well as climate change response and preparedness activities, and in response to other natural hazards and during conflicts.

Almost 20 years ago, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Guidelines on MHPSS in Emergency Settings, laid the foundations of best practice in MHPSS, stimulated by the need to avoid harmful practices in times when people are very vulnerable. The principles it laid down have served the community very well, and the MHPSS community is now very mature, with an increasing range of evidence-based tools, including the Minimum Service Package. A new research agenda for 2021-2030 was recently outlined, which demonstrated how far we have come, particularly in understanding the extent of needs and the basic elements of what works to reduce suffering. A mechanism is in place to quickly provide effective coordination in emergencies – the surge support mechanism run by the Dutch government on behalf of the MHPSS community, and others like Africa CDC are also putting this in place alongside other response mechanisms to provide response to physical health needs.

However, despite a long-standing commitment to look out for the most marginalised people, there has been a lack of guidance about how to make sure no one is left behind in MHPSS provision. IASC is finalising guidance on disability inclusive MHPSS, which will be ready by 2024.  MHPSS is also included in CBM Global’s HHoT tool for inclusive emergency response and Inclusive DRR tool.

Learn more about CBM Global’s work on Community Mental Health and Humanitarian Action.

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