The experience of an emergency can significantly impact the mental health and psychosocial well-being of a person. It can have immediate as well as long-term consequences for individuals, families and communities. The Inter Agency Standing Committee Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) in Emergency Settings (IASC, 2007) were developed through an inclusive process, with input from UN agencies, NGOs and Universities. The Guidelines help to plan, establish and coordinate a set of minimum multi-sectoral responses to protect, support and improve people’s mental health and psychosocial wellbeing in the midst of an emergency.
The IASC MHPSS Reference Group was established in December 2007. Its main task is to support and advocate for the implementation of the Guidelines. The Reference Group consists of more than 30 members, and fosters a unique collaboration between NGOs, UN and International Agencies and academics, promoting best practices in MHPSS.
» The aims of the Reference Group are:
- To facilitate integration of the core principles of the Guidelines into all sectors of emergency response;
- To foster collaboration amongst agencies and diverse stakeholders (such as governments and communities) for MHPSS in emergencies;
- To support interagency coordination and activities for MHPSS at global, regional and national levels;
- To develop relevant tools linked to the Guidelines and share these with relevant actors in the field;
- To encourage individual agencies to institutionalise the Guidelines;
- To promote and support ongoing capacity development to enable effective use of the Guidelines and related tools;
- To share experiences of Guidelines implementation among MHPSS actors;
- To interface with the UN Cluster System to include MHPSS in policies, tools, capacity building and planning processes;
- To facilitate language translations, printing and dissemination and of the Guidelines.
The Guidelines have been disseminated widely and translated into several languages including Arabic, Chinese, French, Japanese , Nepali, Spanish, and Tajik (provide links). Responding to needs indicated by humanitarian actors, the Reference Group has published tools related to the Guidelines almost every year since 2007 (provide links for all documents below)
In 2014 This year the group has initiated the development of M&E Guidance to improve monitoring and evaluation of the relevance, effectiveness and efficiency of MHPSS programing in emergency settings.
For other 2014 initiatives please refer to the IASC RG MHPSS 2014-work plan (upload work plan 2014). The Reference Group shares work in progress and resources also via mhpss.net
- IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support: Checklist for Field Use (2008)
- IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support: What should Protection Programme Managers Know? (2010
- IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support: What should Humanitarian Health Actors Know? (2010)
- IASC: Who is Where, When, doing What in Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (2012)
- IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support: What should Camp Coordinators and camp Management Actors Know? (2013)
- IASC Reference Group Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Assessment Guide (2013)
IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings (English)
For further information on the Reference Group or on the IASC Guidelines, please kindly contact one of the Co-Chairs (see contact details on this page)