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MHPSS during humanitarian crises and conflict: In person training for MHPSS focal points

Mental Health and Psychosocial Support during humanitarian crises and conflict
In-person training for MHPSS focal points in the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement and humanitarian organizations

The IFRC PS Centre is offering an in-person training in MHPSS during humanitarian crises and conflict. The training includes an on-line pre-training meeting and a five day face-to-face intensive training in the practical implementation of community-based mental health and psychosocial support programmatic strategies for humanitarian emergencies, with a focus on different types of emergencies, including armed conflict, and forced displacement. The training also develops personal competencies to work on community-based MHPSS programs in emergencies. The course is open for MHPSS professionals with previous MHPSS knowledge and who have worked in community-based projects and programmes.

The training’s pedagogical approach is based on blended learning, where participants study and hand in a written assignment online before the training. The training is highly interactive and problem-based with practical exercises, group work, role plays, and case studies. Participants must be fluent in written and oral English to be able to engage actively in the course, which is a requirement to pass the training successfully.

Training times:

20th of June 12:00 pm to 5:30 pm,
21st, 22nd and 23rd of June from 9:00 to 5:00 pm and
24th of June 9:00 am to 2:00 pm CEST (Copenhagen time)

Armed conflicts, natural disasters and other emergencies have an immense long-term impact on mental health and psychosocial wellbeing. Rates of mental health conditions increase extensively after emergencies and especially in situations of armed conflict.

Psychosocial difficulties increase too when, for instance, people are separated from or lose members of their family or friends, when living conditions become very difficult and when people are exposed to violence and cannot access humanitarian assistance.

Emergencies affect or even destroy community and family resources and undermine personal coping strategies and social connections, which would normally support people. Human, social, and economic consequences are long-term and far-reaching and affect entire communities and societies.

Most people who experience humanitarian emergencies show resilience and are able to manage their distress, provided that they can activate their personal coping strategies and have access to basic services and external resources, such as the support of their families, friends, and community. Early and appropriate mental health and psychosocial support helps prevent distress from developing into more severe mental health and psychosocial conditions.


Training objectives

An emergency and disaster intervention effort without a mental health and psychosocial support strategy is incomplete, and mainstreaming MHPSS throughout programmes will make them more effective. COVID-19 has impacted humanitarian operations worldwide, including other emergency operations, and has tabled mental health and psychosocial support as a key priority.


Target groups

The training is for MHPSS focal points from the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Movement and humanitarian organizations responsible for initiating or supporting the overall mental health and psychosocial activities and interventions during emergencies.


The course prepares participants to be:

  • Prepared for work in emergency operations
  • Equipped with a community-based mental health and psychosocial technical skills-set, allowing them to rapidly assess, plan, coordinate and implement priority interventions during different types of disasters and emergencies, including disease outbreaks
  • Trained to identify needs for protection and integrate protective measures in MHPSS approaches
  • Advocate for the need of community based mental health and psychosocial support activities, projects and programs with a focus on communities, families and individuals with MHPSS needs
  • Able to develop key psycho-educational messages for the affected population
  • Able to engage and collaborate with relevant stakeholders in the communities and participate in relevant coordination bodies
  • Know about the training of, caring for and strengthening of resilience in staff and volunteers

Subjects covered in the training are:

  • Principles and guidelines for MHPSS including protection in emergencies
  • Preparing for emergency work
  • Assessments and data collection
  • Psychosocial triage in acute phases of emergencies
  • Violence prevention and child safeguarding
  • Collaborating with or integrating family tracing services in responses
  • Psychological First Aid in emergency operations
  • Establishing mental health and psychosocial support activities for different age groups
  • Identifying and collaborating with key stakeholders in the community such as faith-based leaders
  • Managing volunteers and developing a training plan for volunteers
  • Developing key MHPSS messages for the affected population
  • Advocating for MHPSS with key stakeholders
  • Developing a plan of action

Dates, deadlines, and other important information

  • Online pre-training meeting 7 June 2 to 3:30 pm CEST.
  • Face to face training on 20 June 12 am to 5:30 pm, 21, 22 and 23 June from 9 am to 5 pm and 24 June 9 am to 2 pm CEST at Danish Red Cross Headquarters, Blegdamsvej 27, 2100 Ø, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Tea, coffee and snacks are provided during breaks and lunch is served daily.
  • The IFRC PS Centre hosts one dinner, additional diner costs have to be borne by the participant


Please note that certificates of participation will only be issued provided a trainee has been present 80 % of the time, taken active part in preparation and facilitation of the session, demonstrated understanding of the topics, been active throughout the training, and has taken on assignments as instructed. A short appraisal for participants from Red Cross Red Crescent Societies is sent to their National Society after the training.

Applications are submitted online through the registration form.

Participants are expected to:

  • Have knowledge of the MHPSS impact and consequences of emergencies, stress, and coping
  • Actively participate in all sections and tasks related to the training
  • Have a background in education, social work, psychology, psychiatry, mental or public health, humanitarian or developmental sciences, or similar fields

Required pre-reading and online training:

Participants should be familiar with the generic resources:

More resources can be found in the PS Centre Resource Library.


Please, direct any questions to psacademy@rodekors.dk