IOM provides mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) in emergencies, transition and recovery contexts for crisis-affected persons – including internally displaced people (IDPs) and other forcibly displaced persons living in camps or urban settings, host communities, stranded migrants, former combatants and people affected by natural disasters and violent extremism.  

A part of IOM’s wider migration health programming, efforts are carried out in a community-based manner, and in close collaboration and integration with other aspects of the Organization’s emergency programming – for example primary health-care services, livelihood support, protection activities and camp management. The approach places individuals’ and communities’ agencies and skills at the centre of the intervention, with a focus on capacity-building and strengthening of individuals, communities, as well as social and health systems. 

Participants of IOM MHPSS activities in crisis contexts include Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, IDPs in Iraq and north-east Nigeria, and flood-affected communities in Mozambique and Ethiopia, among others. 

To date, IOM has implemented MHPSS activities in more than 70 countries, with dozens of field-based international MHPSS experts and several hundred national MHPSS officers worldwide. 

IOM’s MHPSS work includes, but is not limited to:  

  • the provision of individual and group counselling sessions as well as art, informal learning and recreational activities for crisis-affected people; 
  • the establishment of temporary psychosocial support hubs in camps and host communities; 
  • referral mechanisms for those with severe mental disorders, interpretation, mediation, and national mental health system strengthening; and    
  • advocacy efforts and the development of policy papers, guidelines and manuals for effective MHPSS programming. 

In addition, IOM has designed and implemented capacity-building initiatives in various aspects of MHPSS and population mobility in emergencies for humanitarian, law enforcement, social welfare, educational, cultural, health, mental health and psychosocial professionals. The Executive Professional Training Programme in Psychosocial Support, Dialogue and Social Cohesion organized in Lebanon is one example of such trainings. 

IOM is an active member of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s Associated Reference Group on MHPSS in Emergency Settings, and works in partnership with international organizations, non-governmental organizations, academic and research centres, and professional associations specialized in MHPSS.