Any form of migration implies a redefinition of individual, family, group and collective identities, roles and value systems, which can put the individuals, the families and the communities involved under stress.
The conditions under which migration takes place are dictated by policies and laws and underlying political, economic and social structures, which determine the outcomes for migrants in terms of their integrated wellbeing, mental health and human development.
An inclusive and human rights-based approach that guarantees the availability and accessibility of psychosocial support and mental health care for all migrants (irrespective of their status) and their host communities can contribute to positive social, economic and cultural outcomes for migrants, their families, communities, and also the societies of both origin and destination countries.
Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) in IOM
IOM provides direct MHPSS to migrants, emergency affected and host communities and has designed and implemented capacity-building initiatives in various aspects of MHPSS and population mobility for humanitarian, law enforcement, social welfare, educational, cultural, health, mental health and psychosocial professionals. IOM provides MHPSS throughout its programmes, including in:
- Emergency response and humanitarian activities;
- Community stabilization, social cohesion and peacebuilding;
- Direct assistance to victims of trafficking, migrants going back to the country of origin and other vulnerable migrants;
- Reintegration support to former combatants;
- Strengthening health systems and responses in migration crises;
- Promoting the consideration of cultural diversity in mental health care delivery;
- Mainstreaming MHPSS into migrants’ protection;
- Addressing the psychosocial components of reparation of victims.
IOM works with partners and key stakeholders, including national and local governments, international and national governmental organizations, international, national and local non-governmental organizations and other civil society actors, professional associations, academia and migrant groups, to strengthen the capacity of relevant MHPSS services provided to migrants.
Global technical support
The Global Section for Mental Health, Psychosocial Response and Intercultural Communication provides:
- Technical oversight to MHPSS programmes of IOM.
- Assessments of the MHPSS needs of migrants and host communities, mapping of services and resources.
- Knowledge dissemination initiatives, including conferences, webinars and external publications.
- Organization of summer schools, master programmes, trainings on different facets of MHPSS and population mobility.
- Development of policy papers, guidelines, manuals for MHPSS programming for a wider community of practice.
- Creation of an international network of MHPSS experts.
- Direct provision of MHPSS
- Deployment, training and supervision of multidisciplinary Psychosocial Mobile Teams (see video);
- Establishment of temporary Psychosocial Support hubs in camps and host communities;
- Socio-relational and cultural activities, creative and art-based activities, ritual and celebrations, sport and play, non-formal education and informal learning activities (see video);
- Counselling and support groups and training in counselling methods;
- Referral mechanisms for those with severe mental disorders, interpretation, mediation, and national mental health system strengthening;
- Integration of MHPSS in the framework of protection to vulnerable and conflict-affected individuals.
Transition and recovery
- Start-up of recreational and counselling centres for families in post-emergency and migration crises settings (watch video);
- Strengthening and implementation of community-based supports aiming at mending social fabrics and promoting social cohesion, like socio-relational and cultural activities, creative and art-based activities, ritual and celebrations, sport and play, non-formal education and informal learning activities;
- MHPSS to former combatants;
- Integration of MHPSS in Conflict transformation and mediation (see video);
- Integration of MHPSS Livelihood and developmental programmes. (see video)
Migrants’ protection and assistance
- MHPSS for trafficked persons, stranded migrants, migrants in detention, unaccompanied and separated children, returnees, and other migrants in need of protection;
- Cultural mediation training and mainstreaming;
- Individual, community and structural technical assistance in mainstreaming MHPSS in reintegration assistance for returning migrants;
- Assistance during travel for migrants with mental health conditions;
- Assessing the mental health needs of prospective resettled refugees and other migrants and ensure referrals for specialist services and treatment prior to departure in coordination with national and international partners.
- Capacity building of service providers in mental health and population mobility;
- Actions promoting migrants’ access to mental health services;
- Integration of mental health care for migrants in primary health care settings;
- Capacity building and policy actions for mainstreaming interpretation, mediation, outreach to diverse populations and cultural diversity awareness in mental health services.
- Partnerships and coordination
- Interagency collaborations: WHO, UNHCR, UNICEF and IFRC in the domain of MHPSS;
- Humanitarian: IOM is an active member of the IASC-Associated Reference Group on MHPSS:
- It co-chairs the working groups on community-based MHPSS and on MHPSS for men at the global level;
- It co-chairs the field-based MHPSS groups in Libya, South Sudan, Nigeria, Bangladesh-Cox's Bazar, and Türkiye.
- Academia and research: IOM has established partnerships with the University of Essex, Hunter College, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, University of Dakka, Lebanese University, University of Maiduguri, and many others;
- Migration Health Research Portal: IOM MHPSS contributes to this open-access global repository as an important hub for policymakers, researchers, media and other relevant actors interested in driving migration and health actions;
- Professional associations: IOM has established partnerships with the World Psychiatric Association, the Royal College of Psychiatry and many others.
For additional information on IOM MHPSS: Contact Mental Health, Psychosocial Response and Intercultural Communication-Global at firstname.lastname@example.org