Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Officer 24 views0 applications 303 views

Organizational Setting and Work Relationships

Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) describes any type of local or outside support that aims to protect or promote psychosocial well-being and/or prevent or treat mental disorder. It is therefore, by definition, a multi-sectoral issue. Within the work of UNHCR and partners, MHPSS activities do not constitute a separate sector, but are mainly realized within existing sectors and work fields such as health, nutrition, community-based protection, child protection, and SGBV.
The main task of the MHPSS team is to build and maintain capacity for MHPSS interventions within UNHCR and partners in order to foster delivery of quality MHPSS interventions for refugees and surrounding host communities.

The Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Officer supports UNHCR’s efforts during emergency situations to ensure that MHPSS is well integrated in the health and protection responses. The incumbent supports UNHCR¿s efforts to comply with international minimum standards, internal and interagency guidance for mental health and psychosocial support such as the IASC Guidelines for MHPSS in Emergency Settings (2007).

The Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Officer is part of the Public Health unit and will receive direct supervision and guidance from the Senior Public Health Officer or the Senior Field/Technical Coordinator depending on the office setup. Close functional linkages for technical guidance and support will be established with the Senior Mental Health Officer in Geneva.
The incumbent leads the MHPSS multidisciplinary team consisting of international and national staff and will chair MHPSS coordination and planning meetings within UNHCR and will establish appropriate consultative mechanisms for MHPSS integration within the Area of Responsibility (AoR). S/he will represent UNHCR in interagency MHPSS technical meetings and work planning, and will demonstrate solid technical leadership around MHPSS.

The incumbent will oversee and supervise the MHPSS activities within the AoR, and provide strong technical guidance and training to partners, monitor and evaluate programmes and provide partners with supportive feedback to improve the MHPSS activities.

All UNHCR staff members are accountable to perform their duties as reflected in their job description. They do so within their delegated authorities, in line with the regulatory framework of UNHCR which includes the UN Charter, UN Staff Regulations and Rules, UNHCR Policies and Administrative Instructions as well as relevant accountability frameworks. In addition, staff members are required to discharge their responsibilities in a manner consistent with the core, functional, cross-functional and managerial competencies and UNHCR’s core values of professionalism, integrity and respect for diversity.


  • Ensure MHPSS activities for the refugee population by UNHCR and partners are executed in line with internal UNHCR guidance and according to international and interagency standards.
  • Ensure the MHPSS team applies UNHCR¿s policies, standards and procedures constantly and coherently.
  • MHPSS coordination mechanisms with all relevant partners are in place.
  • Ensure there is system for capacity building and supportive supervision for MHPSS by UNHCR staff and partners, which is functional.
  • Ensure that the mental health data are integrated in the Health Information System (HIS) and reports for MHPSS activities by partners and UNHCR staff will be systematically assembled and assessed.
  • Conduct assessment missions and implement evaluation activities around MHPSS.
  • Support the development and implementation of an MHPSS strategic plan within the AoR.
  • Support the programming exercise to draw proposals and budgets related to MHPSS within the AoR.
  • Provide technical assistance to UNHCR and implementing partners within the AoR in development, integration and mainstreaming of appropriate and cost-effective MHPSS health programmes.
  • Promote inter-sectoral coordination outside and within UNHCR in all matters related to MHPSS programmes and improve coordination among partners.
  • Work closely with UNHCR programme, field and protection staff to identify priority MHPSS issues, identify gaps and overlaps in programming, address unmet needs, and orient existing activities to address priority issues.
  • Ensure that national and internationally accepted and relevant standards and policies around MHPSS are applied and adapted in close coordination with the host country and relevant UN agencies and partners.
  • Foster capacity building around MHPSS for UNHCR staff, partner staff and refugee workers (e.g. community health workers, peer educators, peer counsellors, refugee outreach volunteers.
  • Develop training plans for MHPSS, organise and act as resource person in workshops and training both in-service and on the job (coaching).
  • Promote programme evaluation and applied research around MHPSS interventions to enable identification of gaps in service provision and to promote evidence-based programming.
  • Promote strong linkages of MHPSS with public health, nutrition and the units for community based-protection, child protection, SGBV, education and others.
  • Promote the use of community-based approaches, including clear involvement of persons of concern (PoC) in MHPSS programmes.
  • Work with others in UNHCR to advocate for access of refugees and other PoC to local mental health services and lobby for inclusion of refugees and other PoC as a specific group in government policies related to MHPSS.
  • Promote information sharing on all aspects related to refugee MHPSS.
  • Ensure regular update and share information within UNHCR as well as with relevant government, UN and NGO counterparts and donor communities
  • Provide guidance on the overall strategy and focus of MHPSS programmes within the AoR.
  • Intervene with implementing partners on MHPSS issues and enforce compliance with, and integrity of, MHPSS programming within the AoR.
  • Represent MHPSS aspects of UNHCRs efforts in coordination meetings in and outside UNHCR, and delegate coordination responsibilities to other team members where required.
  • Advise on selection of implementing partners for MHPSS.
  • Perform other related duties as required.
  • Minimum Qualifications
    Education & Professional Work Experience
    Years of Experience / Degree Level
    For P3 – 6 years relevant experience with Undergraduate degree; or 5 years relevant experience with Graduate degree; or 4 years relevant experience with Doctorate degree
  • Field(s) of Education
    Clinical Psychology; Psychiatry; Public Health;
    Mental Health; Social Work or other relevant field.
    (Field(s) of Education marked with an asterisk* are essential)
    Certificates and/or Licenses
    Nor specified
    (Certificates and Licenses marked with an asterisk* are essential)
  • Relevant Job Experience
  • At least 4 years of relevant work experience in the relevant field, of which at least 3 years of professional experience in the humanitarian or refugee field.
  • Extensive knowledge of public mental health and MHPSS models of promotion/prevention and treatment.
  • Experiences and knowledge in the psychological and psychosocial response to victims of sexual violence and torture.
  • Experience in integrated health responses, providing mental health services integrated with primary or secondary health services.
  • Strong understanding of and working experience with refugee protection (such as community based protection, child protection and SGBV prevention and response).
  • Knowledgeable of the latest developments and techniques in Mental Health and Psychosocial Support.
  • Experience with planning, executing and evaluating capacity building around MHPSS (training, workshops).
  • Work experience with technical tools in around mental health such as the mhGAP Humanitarian Intervention Guide for Clinical Management of Mental, Neurological and Substance use Conditions in Humanitarian Emergencies, WHO/UNHCR, 2015).
  • Ability to promote good working relationships among colleagues, supervisors, and the persons s/he supervises.
  • Desirable
  • Experience with evidence based scalable psychological interventions (such as Problem Management Plus, Interpersonal Therapy for Depression) etc are an asset.
  • Functional Skills
    MD-Organizational Psychology and/or Psychiatry
    MD-Psychosocial risk assessment and recommendation of mitigating measures
    CO-Cross-cultural communication
    CL-Multi-stakeholder Communications with Partners, Government & Community
    CL-Protection & Solutions Awareness
    PR-Community-based Protection
    PR-Refugee Protection Principles and Framework
    MD-Health Information Systems (HIS)
    SO-Negotiation skills
    (Functional Skills marked with an asterisk* are essential)
  • Language Requirements
    For International Professional and Field Service jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English.
    For National Professional jobs: Knowledge of English and UN working language of the duty station if not English and local language.
    For General Service jobs: Knowledge of English and/or UN working language of the duty station if not English.
How to apply:

Interested applicants should submit their application online on the UNHCR Careers Page at by clicking on “Vacancies”.

Closing date for applications: 30 December 2019 (midnight Geneva time).

The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and
opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities
as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are
encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex,
national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

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