Mental Health in Complex Emergencies, Istanbul (Sept 1-7, 2013)

Organised by: 
Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs at Fordham University, in collaboration with HealthNet TPO, International Medical Corps and the Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation.


The Mental Health in Complex Emergencies course is an intensive multidisciplinary 7-day training course for mental health workers and humanitarian program staff who wish to gain insight and competency in establishing mental health or psychosocial programs in (post) conflict areas or in complex disaster settings. The course will provide practical orientation and training to equip participants to establish and organize programs in mental health and psychosocial support and strengthen adjunct applicable skills for use in complex humanitarian emergencies and relief situations, such as needs assessments, monitoring and evaluation, understanding the humanitarian context, security and self care.

Through this course, students are exposed to both the most recent academic thought on mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) as well as the experiences of field practitioners in implementing MHPSS programming in complex emergencies.  Students are sensitized to the non-material aspects of humanitarian assistance and will be able to take into account the psychosocial context when planning humanitarian assistance. This course emphasizes the well-being of the beneficiaries as considered in the 'IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings' as endorsed by WHO, UNICEF, UNHCR, IFRC and numerous local and international agencies working in the field of psychosocial assistance.


After the course students will have an increased understanding of mental health and psychosocial needs and interventions in complex emergencies. They will also have an overview of the important guidelines, key issues and debates within the field. They will have been introduced to the key capacities required for establishing MHPSS services in the field and had a chance to critically reflect on their own role as a humanitarian actor.

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

       Describe the diversity of mental health and psychosocial issues in complex emergencies and the role of cultural and contextual factors influencing MHPSS problems

       Work with the IASC guidelines on MHPSS in Emergency Settings and use the tools in these guidelines such as the multi-layered service pyramid

       Be familiar with appropriate training materials and curricula such as mhGAP and PFA guidelines for use in the field

       Describe the principles of assessment, monitoring & evaluation of MHPSS problems in emergency contexts including familiarity with WHO/UNHCR MHPSS assessment tools

       Define the various roles of mental health professionals, psychosocial professionals and non-specialized MHPSS workers in different emergency contexts

       Outline the principles of establishing programs in the mental health and psychosocial domains

Critically assess the academic literature covering MHPSS interventions in complex emergencies, with a view to continued learning and professional development

Contact name: 
Laura Risimini, International Programs Coordinator, Institute of International Humanitarian Cooperation New York
Contact email address: