Some months ago, I  participated in 11th Mental Health in Complex Emergencies (MHCE) course, organized by Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA), Fordham University in collaboration with HealthNetTPO, UNHCR, and International Medical Corps at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia held from 20th to 30th September. 25 professionals from various countries representing/working in different international humanitarian organizations participated in the course. Me and one of my colleagues working in the psychosocial support program (Hateymalo) for the families of missing in Nepal was supported by ICRC to attend this course, thanks to my institution.


About the course

The course was directed by Larry Hollingworth, C.B.E., Humanitarian Programs Director, Center for International Humanitarian Cooperation (CIHC); Lynne Jones, O.B.E. FRCPsych., Ph.D., Visiting scientist, FXB Center for Health & Human Rights, Harvard University; and Peter Ventevogel, M.D. Senior Mental Health Officer, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

On the first week for Module 1, Larry Hollingworth, Peter Ventevogel, Lynne Jones, Catherine Evans and Inka Weissbecker facilitated various sessions covering the most essential topics on mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) in complex emergencies.

In the second week for Module 2, there were additional instructors such as Judith Bass and Charlotte Hanlon for topic on Conducting MHPSS Research in humanitarian settings, Lena Verdeli for topic on Group Interpersonal Therapy for humanitarian settings and Professor Atalay Alem for special guest lecture on Mental Health in Ethiopia.

Personal Reflection of Practitioners

I would like to share some short video clips of personal experiences and reflection shared by field practitioners about implementing MHPSS programmes in complex emergencies. Thanks to Kasey Cruz for helping to record my presentation, rest of the videos were recorded by myself. Thanks to Bishnu for the picture and Caitlin for writing her experience of the course.


Sujen Man Maharjan from ICRC, Nepal

Tadu Bezu from IMC, Ethiopia

Mahmuda from UNHCR, Bangladesh

Abdulwasi Yusuf from IMC, Ethiopia

Alaa’Alddin Al’masri and Awwad Manar from IMC, Jordan

Boniface Duku from HealthNet TPO, South Sudan

Caitlin Cockcroft from UK working in HealthNet TPO, South Sudan.


 Being able to work with community resources, current resiliency and encouraging individuals to utilise their support networks already in place – this is something that will be the focus of all my work in future. We spend too much of our time focusing on people’s weaknesses, the problems and challenges they face, and how we can parachute in, provide and leave. I like that the conversation is changing especially with regards to mental health. We can’t be the savior who comes and treats and leaves. Much of the work can be done at the ground level, within the community. We can prevent mental health issues from developing or worsening by ensuring that people have, and use, their community support systems.

To read the complete text, please click here: IMC – MHCE- Caitlinwrites

2 thoughts on “Mental Health in Complex Emergencies 2015 Course

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