The MHPSS Network platform was established in response to a need, recognized by the global MHPSS community, to better connect practitioners, clinicians, policymakers and researchers working in the field of MHPSS in emergencies and other situations of adversity. Personnel in low and middle-income countries, especially those in field contexts, often lacked access to relevant resources and contact with peers, and were often constrained in sharing their own knowledge and experiences.
As a Community of Practice (CoP), the MHPSS Network aims to enrich services provided to affected populations and individuals by allowing practitioners and stakeholders access to evidence-based research and peer collaboration through an online platform. Given the great diversity within the field of MHPSS, in terms of disciplines, theoretical and practical perspectives, and contextual realities, the MHPSS Network aims to reflect and respect this plurality, but also seeks to bring these many strands into proximity with one another to increase interaction, engagement and the sharing of knowledge and experiences.
This exchange and use of knowledge and learning within the global field of MHPSS has been severely constrained by poor access to technical resources and expertise from global, regional and even national contexts., for field-based practitioners and policy-makers in low and middle-income settings. The MHPSS Network responds directly to these challenges by providing a hosted online platform for connecting stakeholders in the field and actively supporting sharing of knowledge and resources. It has also been adopted as the main online platform for use by the IASC Reference Group on MHPSS, comprised of key agencies that undertake and lead MHPSS responses in humanitarian crises, as it promotes and coordinates systematic, evidence-based and consensus-based interventions.
How It Works
The MHPSS Network has sought to establish the website as a means for the MHPSS community to access resources and support that will strengthen their interventions for service-users in emergencies and situations of adversity. This was done through a system of specialist and network hosts that work towards ensuring the availability of key resources while expanding and activating the membership to respond to issues and themes in their localities.
The COP provides a way for members to share resources, join groups and interact with others, based on their work and interests. The platform also plays an important role in mobilizing capacities, resources and ensuring coordination around MHPSS response during emergencies. Recognizing that technology alone is not always sufficient to enable exchange or grow communities of practice, the network’s team of online hosts supports members in using the site and in helping members connect with others across the network. The MHPSS Network hosting team itself consists of MHPSS practitioners, with diverse backgrounds and working in different parts of the world.
Features of the MHPSS Network
Features that support COP members’ learning, participation and engagement include: