Community update: Mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) (September 2019): Yemen, new community of practice, gender equality in education, and upcoming events

Katy Wall
Katy is an MHPSS specialist originally from the U.S., currently consulting from Nairobi, Kenya.
Katy holds a master's degree in clinical psychology from the University of Denver's International Disaster Psychology Program. Since beginning her work in international humanitarian response, she has held a variety of roles in the MHPSS sector including: program management; training and supervision; program development and coordination. Moreover, she has contributed to guideline and tool development to support program implementation with a variety of INGOs as well as the United Nations. Her work has included focus in many contexts including India, Nepal, Yemen, and Central African Republic and presently has her engaged with projects in Libya and across East and South Africa.
Yemeni fathers line up at a remote EU-supported clinic where they have brought their children.

Photo: EU/Peter Biro

Community updates provide brief highlights from expert practitioners about what they see as the key developments in a specific area, what resources they would recommend, and what to look out for in the coming months.

Key developments

Yemen MHPSS assessment report

Earlier this month, International Medical Corps published an assessment report on mental health and psychosocial support in Yemen. The report “examines the sources of psychosocial distress, key needs for mental health and psychosocial support services, traditional ways of coping, help-seeking behaviors, barriers to accessing support, existing MHPSS services and critical gaps,” in the context. Dive into the report to find key recommendations for humanitarian actors and stakeholders to take action on improving service delivery and availability in one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

East and Southern Africa MHPSS Community of Practice

Under the initiative of REPSSI and, practitioners, agencies, and stakeholders from East and Southern Africa are working to develop a regional community of practice to facilitate exchange of regional knowledge and learning on MHPSS programming, and support coordination and information sharing among humanitarian and development actors working on MHPSS in the region. Additional information about the community of practice can be found within the ESA MHPSS CoP group on or by sending an inquiry email to the current focal points (Ms Carmel Gaillard and Ananda Galappatti.

Recommended resources

New manual for community-based MHPSS

Released in July, this manual aims to support MHPSS experts and managers in designing, implementing and evaluating MHPSS programs, projects and activities in humanitarian settings. The manual is an essential guidance resource for IOM employees and programs, but is an equally relevant guidance document with information on training, supervision, assessment and community mobilization in MHPSS programming for other actors.

Gender equality and education

Education is a protective and promotive factor of development, safety and wellbeing of children, adolescents, and youth. Girls and women are disproportionately underrepresented in education in emergencies. Take a look at the guidance note to see how gender equality in and through education results in better education and wellbeing for all crisis-affected populations by developing inclusive, equitable educational environments in times of crisis and paving the way for the future.

Keep an eye out for...

IFRC Reference Centre for Psychosocial Support in Copenhagen is welcoming participants outside of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to their fall courses. Upcoming courses include: Psychological First Aid (PFA) in English and French, PFA ToT, and Programming and M&E for Psychosocial Interventions.
International Conference on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Crisis Situations (7 & 8 October 2019): Hosted by the Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and International Cooperation, this conference brings together MHPSS experts, policymakers, ministers, donors, and people with lived experiences with the aim to mobilize commitment for scaling up high quality MHPSS during and after disasters and conflicts; increase commitment to long-term financial support and identifying financing mechanisms; and present proven, scalable, and evidence-based MHPSS approaches and interventions. Live stream of the conference is scheduled to be available. Additional information can be found on the Government of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
World Mental Health Day 2019 (10 October): This year, World Mental Health Day focuses on suicide prevention. Approximately 800,000 people take their own lives through suicide every year and many more make attempts. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds-globally. Check out the Suicide Fact Sheet from WHO and take the initiative to find out what suicide prevention efforts are happening in your region (and programming) for World Mental Health Day 2019.
Keep it on your radar… The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is working on a MHPSS Policy anticipated to be presented at the Movement’s conference in Geneva in December. Stay tuned for more information.
PHAP community updates are written by members of the association and other practitioners in their personal capacity. The views expressed belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of PHAP or any other organizations with which the author is associated.