WHO Consultancy: Pre-service training in mental health

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WHO Consultancy: Pre-service training in mental health

Initial Terms of Reference January 2022 to November 2022

1. Purpose of the consultancy

Support the advancement of WHO’s programme of work in the area of pre-service training in mental health.

2. Background

Mental health conditions are highly prevalent and present significant challenges for health systems globally. However, there are marked gaps between the need for mental health services and the capacities and resources available to address these needs, particularly in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). Consistent with a system-strengthening approach, expansion of the mental health workforce through pre-service training represents a potentially effective and sustainable solution. Pre-service training is education that takes place in preparation for future professional roles (for example, training that occurs as part of nursing undergraduate curricula, medical school curricula in the training of doctors), as opposed to in-service training, which takes place during employment with employees already providing services. Integration of mental health within pre-service training for non-specialist and general health care professions has the potential to expand mental health workforces by developing practical skills in mental health service provision among cadres of future professionals, including doctors, nurses, community health workers, social workers and others. These professionals may then in turn contribute to mental health services in their professional roles, building a more cost effective and sustainable model while strengthening the system as a whole. WHO aims to advance the integration of mental health in per-service training by identifying good practices and lessons learned and developing key materials and tools to better support countries in this integration.

3. Planned timelines

This is an 11-month consultancy to begin as soon as possible.

4. Work effort

50-100% FTE

5. Work to be performed

Facilitate the conceptualization and advancement of WHO’s programe of work in pre-service training for mental health. The types of activities that will be involved include engaging in interviews with key stakeholders, organizing and facilitating international meetings and an advisory group, managing commissioned evidence reviews and developing strategic background materials and documents.

6. Specific requirements


Essential: Advanced university degree in public health, epidemiology, mental health, psychology, social sciences, medicine, or related field.

Desirable: Postgraduate degree or training in mental health



(a) At least five years cumulative working experience in mental health;

(b) Working experience of mental health services in low- and middle-income countries.


(a) At least three years cumulative working experience in pre-service training in low- and middle-income countries;

(b) Working experience outside one’s own country;

(c) Experience of working with governments and the UN;

(d) Experience in public health education or programme implementation and evaluation.

Technical skills and knowledge:

• Sound technical knowledge of mental health systems in low- and middle-income countries, including education prior to service provision for non-specialised workers;

• Knowledge of international policies, guidelines and approaches to pre-service training, particularly in mental health;

• Excellent writing skills, in particular technical writing skills;

• Excellent communications and interpersonal skills with the ability to build strong relationships with a variety of stakeholders across different cultures and technical sectors;

• Strong project management skills, including organization, scheduling and time management skills;

• Self-discipline with the ability to work with autonomy and as part of a team.

Languages: Fluency in English (both oral and written). Knowledge of other UN languages would be an advantage.

7. Place of assignment

The consultancy will be remote (home-based) under a teleworking arrangement. Flexibility for work hours will be essential given the consultancy may require engagement across multiple time zones.

8. Travel

Complying with WHO travel restrictions during COVID-19. If travel is deemed necessary for the consultant to perform the work, a travel request will be raised and per diem will be applied as per WHO payment regulations.

9. Fee rate, contract duration, timing of payments and performance evaluation

The remuneration will be based on a monthly fee, depending on the selected consultant’s degree of specialization, knowledge, qualifications, experience and skills. The monthly fee will be agreed between WHO and the selected consultant in advance. Other terms and conditions of employment will be in accordance with WHO policy on the employment of consultants (details available upon request).

10. How to prepare and submit a proposal in reply to this tender

Interested candidates should create a Candidate Profile (https://www.who.int/careers/process/instructions-for-candidates.pdf?ua=1) and send their profile (PDF print-out of their profile) in electronic format by e-mail to Mrs Evelyn Finger (fingere@who.int) along with a cover letter explaining the candidate’s motivation for applying to this position (less than 1 page). There is no job listed in this system at the above link so you will not need to submit the profile for a specific position, but instead complete the profile as generic profile and send the PDF printout.

PLEASE write "Pre-service training consultancy" in the subject line of your email.


The selected candidate will be asked to produce copies of all degrees/diplomas/certificates as mentioned in their profile, as well as a copy of their passport and other documents as appropriate. Incomplete proposals will not be considered.

The deadline for final submissions of proposals is Monday, 10 January, 2022 at 11:59pm Central European Time.

11. Additional information

Only candidates under serious consideration will be contacted. WHO is committed to workforce diversity. WHO has a smoke-free environment and does not recruit smokers or users of any form of tobacco. Applications from women and from nationals of non and underrepresented Member States are particularly encouraged.