The 3rd Annual Conference
18th– 19th of February 2017
Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Humanitarian Settings
This year’s conference was a two-day working forum aiming to support interaction, case study information-sharing and exchange of experiences as a basis for informed decision-making and policy brief development on issues concerning the gap between mental health needs and service provision in crisis. Experience sharing on best practice of mental health service provision, psychosocial support services in low-recourse settings, addressing difficulties and opportunities in providing mental health and psychosocial support in countries torn by war and political embargo, as well as research and establishing networks for mental health promotion. National, regional, and international speakers presented their experiences in working in the field of mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) in humanitarian settings. Examples include Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS) establishing safe houses in the eastern border of Sudan, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) presentation on mental health and PSS in Emergencies in Middle East Gaps and Challenges, “Building an online platform for MHPSS: lessons learned and insights from MHPSS.net” via Skype by the co-founder and Managing Board member of MHPSS Network, and Scaling up mental health care: a framework for action by World Health Organization (WHO) Representative in Sudan.
The second day of the conference, consisted of a workshop for the participant. The participants discussed the 5 strategic priorities in regards to mental health. The goal visions from the discussion were to establish good and reliable mental health systems, accessible for all. Some groups emphasized that the mental health systems should have an evidence-based approach while other groups had focus on prevention. To reach the goal visions, all sectors should be integrated with each other in order to implement psychosocial support in the community and to identify those with mental issues as early as possible and also making a network regarding MHPSS. Guidelines for integrated MHPSS to cover all levels from community level to national level should be established.
To strengthening MHPSS, the workshop concluded that we need to map human resource by exchanging visits, improving physical infrastructure and communication networks. Other priorities we should focus on are outreach teams professional team clinics, workshops and narrative theatres.