The Mental Health in Complex Emergencies Course is an intensive multidisciplinary 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 areas affected by complex disasters including refugee settings.
The first seven days of the course will provide practical orientation and training to equip participants to establish and organize programs in mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) and strengthen adjunct applicable skills for use in complex humanitarian emergencies and relief operations, such as needs assessments, monitoring and evaluation, understanding the humanitarian context, security, and self-care. In the last three days (18 – 20 September) students may choose from a number of three-day workshops in which particular topics relevant to humanitarian emergencies will be explored in depth, facilitated by specialists.
Through this course, students will be exposed to both the most recent academic thought on MHPSS as well as the experiences of field practitioners in designing and implementing MHPSS programs in complex emergencies. Students are sensitized to the non-material, social 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 disaster-affected people as considered in the 2007 ‘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.
The course is organized by the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA of Fordham University in New York, in collaboration with humanitarian partners: UNHCR, the refugee agency of the United Nations and the International Medical Corps.
This course is a week-long elective course for the IDOHA and IDMHA modules of the MIHA.
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 for use in the field, such as the mhGAP (Humanitarian) Intervention Guide, the guide for Psychological First Aid (PFA) and the range of scalable psychological interventions such as Problem Management Plus (PM+) and group Interpersonal Therapy.
- Describe the principles of assessment, monitoring, and 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 nonspecialized MHPSS workers in different emergency contexts.
- Outline the principles of establishing programs in the mental health and psychosocial domains.
- Be familiar with concrete examples of good practice in mental health and psychosocial programming.
- Critically assess the academic literature covering MHPSS interventions in complex emergencies, with a view to continued learning and professional development.
Larry Hollingworth, CBE
Humanitarian Programs Director, Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation (CIHC)
Visiting Professor, Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA), Fordham University
Lynne Jones, OBE, FRCPsych. Ph.D.
Visiting Scientist, FXB Center for Health & Human Rights, Harvard University School of Public Health
Willem van de Put
Co-founder, Mental Health in Complex Emergencies Course
Founder and Director, Culture for Change (C4C)
Research Fellow, Fordham University
Scientific Expert at the Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp
Peter Ventevogel, M.D., Ph.D.
Senior Mental Health Officer, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
Applications and Scholarships
Applications: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Those interested in attending this program should contact the International Programs Officer, Ellen Bratina at email@example.com for further instructions. A USD 500 deposit will be due immediately upon acceptance and the remaining tuition will be due three weeks prior to the start of the course.
Tuition fees: For those who wish to receive academic credit, the cost is USD 1,850. Upon successful completion of the program participants are eligible to receive two academic credits from Fordham University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS). Students seeking academic credit will be required to submit a research paper of 3,000 words due two weeks after the conclusion of the course. For those who do not wish to receive formal academic credit, the cost of tuition has been reduced to USD 1,450. These participants will receive a certificate of attendance.
The tuition only covers the course fee and lunch. Accommodation, travel, visa costs, and dinner are not included.
Special workshop fee: Alumni who have completed the MHCE basic course in the past can apply separately for the three-day workshops (18-20 th of September). The tuition fee for the workshops only is USD 800.
Scholarships: The Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation (CIHC), the partner organization of the IIHA, offers a limited number of scholarships for the course fee. Only citizens of the Global South who are currently working within the humanitarian field are eligible.
Syllabus, Course Application and Registration Inquiries
International Programs Officer, Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA), Fordham University