Toolkit for the Integration of Mental Health into General Healthcare in Humanitarian Settings
Integration of Mental Health into General Health Care is not an event, it is a stepwise, long-term process which takes time and varies depending on the context and available resources.
This Toolkit aims to support the understanding and implementation of integrated mental health programs in humanitarian settings. It provides a framework for essential steps and components, with associated key guidance and resources, that strengthen the integration process, and is primarily intended for (1) implementing agencies, but may also be useful for (2) donors, and (3) government actors. Users can access the three steps & three cross cutting components relevant to current program needs, or stages of programming.
An additional section of the toolkit includes resources that provide General Guidance which is foundational to the toolkit. Please use this section as reference as you explore specific steps and components in the toolkit.
For detailed information about the toolkit development process, and its use, read more in the About Section of the toolkit.
The below framework illustrates the structure and use of the mental health integration toolkit. Scroll down for a description of each of the integration steps and cross cutting components in the framework. When ready, click on any of the steps or components to get started.
A rapid or comprehensive assessment is a process of systematically collecting and analyzing data around the country background and context, existing mental health policies, systems and resources as well as needs and barriers to care. This information is needed to plan mental health integration programs.
Capacity building includes theoretical and practical training, as well as ongoing technical support and supervision for general health workers such as doctors and nurses as well as community health workers. Additional MHPSS workers to be trained is dependent on the context and can include social workers, counsellors, psychosocial workers and volunteers.
Strengthening of mental health services at facility and community levels provided by trained and supervised healthcare staff in addition to strengthening systems through improved coordination and referral between service providers, HMIS documentation, and psychotropic medication supply.
Cross cutting components
Monitoring, evaluation, accountability and learning (MEAL) is part of the planning, designing and day to day management of integrated mental health programming. An effective MEAL system supports program managers in tracking progress, making program adjustments, discovering unplanned effects of programming, and showing outcomes of mental health integration. MEAL also supports accountability to stakeholders through information sharing and feedback mechanisms.
Coordination, networking and advocacy take place at various levels (national, regional and community) and promote regular flows of information, help fill gaps, strengthen referral between service providers, support inclusion of national expertise and community voices, and raise awareness on mental health issues among key stakeholders such as governments.
A key component of success in integration is the sustainability of mental health services through general healthcare, and transition of these services from the emergency to longer-term development phases. Sustainability should be considered throughout the MH integration process, starting at the very start of project planning. Aspects of sustainability are related to government and policy, local partnerships, human resources and training, programming and services, research and monitoring, and financing.
This Toolkit is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The content are the responsibility of International Medical Corps and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.
International Medical Corps is working to relieve the suffering of those impacted by war, natural disaster and disease by delivering vital health care services that focus on training, helping devastated populations return to self-reliance.