Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Officer


UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is offering a an IICA full time position Khartoum RO Office Sudan.

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 to ensure that MHPSS is well integrated in the health and protection responses. The incumbent supports UNHCR’s efforts to comply with internal guidance such as the Operational Guidance for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Programming in Refugee Operations (2013) and international minimum standards, including interagency guidance for mental health and psychosocial support such as the IASC Guidelines for MHPSS in Emergency Settings (2007) and Mental Health Standard in the Sphere Handbook (2018).

The Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Officer will report to the Senior Operations Officer and will work very closely with the relevant units. Close functional linkages for technical guidance and support will be established with the Regional Senior Public Health Officer and (if available) the Regional Senior Mental Health Officer or the Senior Mental Health Officer in Geneva.

The incumbent leads a multidisciplinary MHPSS team which may consist of international and national staff. S/he will set up and co-chair the MHPSS coordination and planning meetings within UNHCR and will establish appropriate consultative mechanisms for MHPSS integration within health, protection and education. 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 MHPSS activities, provide strong technical guidance and training to partners, monitor and evaluate programmes and provide partners with supportive feedback to improve the MHPSS activities. MHPSS is not a sector, and therefore accountability for the MHPSS activities within sectors remains within the respective sectors.

Title: Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Officer

Duty Station: Khartoum (Roving), Sudan

Duration: through 31/12/2022

Contract Type: UNOPS International Individual Contractor – IICA 2

Closing date: 26th April 2022

Posting Date: 18th April 2022

Start date: ASAP

Operational context

Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) includes a wide range of issues including interpersonal problems, emotional distress, common mental disorders (such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder), severe mental disorders (such as psychosis), epilepsy, alcohol and substance abuse, and intellectual disabilities.

According to WHO, around 22% of adults in conflict settings have mental health disorders. This is almost triple to non-conflict settings. Refugee children or children who live in conflict settings also have high levels of mental health issues. MHPSS problems of displaced people are determined by:

· adverse experiences in the past in their homeplaces, during flight, and in refugee or IDP settings

· current life conditions such as economic difficulties, daily stressors, a lack of supportive social systems and the adequacy of assistance and protection

· how refugees perceive their future: solutions and real prospects to get a better life.

The term ‘mental health and psychosocial support’ (MHPSS) refers to any type of local or outside support that aims to protect or promote psychosocial well-being or prevent or treat mental health conditions.

MHPSS is not a separate sector but consists of activities that can be implemented via actions in health, community-based protection, GBV, child protection, education including youth programmes, peacebuilding and livelihoods initiatives. Some MHPSS interventions are more specialized (often done through health partners), while others are strongly rooted in community-based protection.

MHPSS for Sudan

The principal elements for an MHPSS Strategy for Sudan are proposed with five high-level objectives;

  1. The overall humanitarian response is conducive to the psychosocial wellbeing and mental health of refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons

  2. Refugees, asylum seekers and IDPs have supportive environments that enable them to maintain and improve their psychosocial wellbeing and address their mental health needs

  3. Refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons in Sudan will be able to receive appropriate psychological interventions and focused psychosocial support

  4. Refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons in Sudan have access to clinical mental health services of acceptable quality

5. Humanitarian actors have sufficient technical capacity and human resources to integrate MHPSS within their work**

Duties and responsibilities

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.

· Establish MHPSS coordination mechanisms with all relevant partners.

· Ensure a system for capacity building and supportive supervision for MHPSS by UNHCR staff and partners.

· Ensure that mental health data are integrated in the Health Information System (HIS) and that 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 with cross sectoral links.

· Support the programming exercise to draw proposals and budgets related to MHPSS within the AoR.

· Provide technical assistance to UNHCR and implementing partners within in development, integration and mainstreaming of appropriate and cost-effective MHPSS activities.

· 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 around MHPSS within units for public health, nutrition, 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 MHPSS services and lobby for inclusion of refugees and other PoC as a specific group in government policies related to MHPSS.

· Ensure regular update and share information within UNHCR as well as with relevant government, UN and NGO counterparts and donors.

· 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.

Essential minimum qualifications and professional experience required

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; Clinical Social Work;

Public Health; Mental Health; Psychotherapy;

or other relevant field.


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: 1) mental health integration in primary health care (such as the mhGAP Humanitarian Intervention Guide for Clinical Management of Mental, Neurological and Substance use Conditions in Humanitarian Emergencies, WHO/UNHCR, 2015), 2) Scalable psychological interventions (brief evidence based psychotherapies, such as Problem Management Plus, Interpersonal Therapy for Depression) ), 3) community-based psychosocial work. Ability to promote good working relationships among colleagues, supervisors, and the persons s/he supervises.


Experience with MHPSS coordination in humanitarian settings.

Functional Skills

· *WB-Psychiatry

· WB-Psychosocial risk assessment and recommendation of mitigating measures

· CL-Needs Assessment and Response Analysis

· WF-Community Services-Social Work/Counselling

· CO-Cross-cultural communication

· CL-Multi-stakeholder Communications with Partners, Government & Community

· CL-Protection & Solutions Awareness

· PR-Community-based Protection

· MD-Health Information Systems (HIS)

· MS-Networking

· *EX-Field experience with UNHCR and/or with other humanitarian organizations

· MG-Managerial experience

· MS-Standard Operating Procedures (preparation of)

Language Requirements

Knowledge of English.


The IICA will be based in Khartoum (Roving), Sudan with Travel to other states within Sudan.


Monthly fees range between USD $ 9,006.75 to $ 10,100.20, depending on the level of expertise of the candidate. Daily subsistence allowance for travel with Sudan will be payable as applicable.

How to apply

Interested applicants should submit their letter of motivation, Personal History Form (PHF) and CV to [[email protected]] indicating [Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Officer] in the subject of the email.

Personal History Forms are available at PHF Form / Supplementary Sheet.

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.