New job in ACF

Last month I started a new job at Action Contre la Faim (ACF)- [Action against Hunger], as Mental Health and Care Practices Programme Manager covering Nuwakot and Rasuwa districts. ACF is working in those districts after the earthquakes and has remained one of the most active organizations for humanitarian response following the disaster last year.  Through its nutrition and mental health & care practices  programmes, ACF prevents, diagnoses and treats acute malnutrition in those most at risk, including young children and pregnant or breast-feeding/lactating women by integrating  nutrition and mental health aspects, emphasizing on strong mother-child bonding, increasing community sensitization about care practices for child development, and building capacity of staff of health facilities & teachers of schools of Nepal government in collaboration with District Health Office and District Education Office and reaching out to the community through local NGO partners.

img_4809Just got started, excited for this new adventure…

Mental Health in Complex Emergencies 2015 Course

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

Mental health: Healing the hidden scars

Mental health: Healing the hidden scars

This feature recently published in ICRC website reports about the Mental Health and Psychosocial support programs around the world to recognize the psychological impact of armed conflict and violence, and to help the victims cope and rebuild their lives.

Also includes Nepal program which the ICRC launched the Hateymalo (joining hands together) accompaniment programme in 2010 to help families cope with the uncertainty and to rebuild bonds within communities. The program has already reached out to families of missing in twenty six districts (ten phased out and sixteen ongoing) and still more to reach in seventeen districts this year.