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Mental health and psychosocial support in mine action

This is a closed side event on Victim Assistance for survivors of explosive remnants of war (ERWs) and a part of the broader Meeting of State Parties on the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention

PS Centre Technical Advisor Sarah Harrison is a panelist at the side event.

Psychological and psychosocial support is one of the six pillars of Victim Assistance in the frameworks of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC), and other disarmament treaties, such as the Convention on Cluster Munitions and Protocol V of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. Given the traumatic injury caused by anti-personnel mines and other explosive ordinance, psychological and psychosocial support is essential to ensure social well-being, self-reliance and the successful socioeconomic inclusion of mine survivors and affected families and communities (hereafter referred to as ‘indirect victims’). Mental Health and Psychosocial support describes any type of local or outside support that aims to protect or promote psychosocial wellbeing and/or prevent or treat mental disorder . It therefore includes a great variety of interventions from peer-to-peer support (through community based support services, support through associations of persons with disabilities, and other recreational activities) to professional counselling, where necessary, with professionals such as psychologists and psychiatrists.

The Netherlands is President of the APMBC in 2021. One of Dutch priorities is inclusivity, taking the needs and wishes of all mine-affected individuals into account in Mine Action activities. For landmine survivors and indirect victims, it is important that there is not only a focus on physical assistance, but also on adequate mental health and psychosocial support activities which – in some situations – may be a pre-requisite to ensure positive physical outcomes of other health assistance and to inclusion.

The objective of the session is:

  • to present and discuss a clear narrative on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) by
      1. Explaining what MHPSS is
      2. Setting the scene on MHPSS in the international cooperation sector at large
  • to emphasize the role and importance of MHPSS in victim assistance and the role of the Mine Action sector in facilitating access through IMAS 13.10
  • to highlight the place and importance of MHPSS in the Oslo Action plan
  • to present best practices from the field, especially how Mine Action activities, such as explosive ordnance risk education and clearance as per IMAS 13.10 can contribute to facilitating access to MHPSS services