Innovation summary

Our Step Association is an innovative project and the first national association established with an aim to include people with mental health issues in the community. All activities within this project have been implemented by service users, ranging from awareness raising, training, advocacy, networking, partnerships, and collaborating with other NGOs. These activities raised awareness on mental health and led to several achievements at the national level. The association is part of key coordination forums and national committees, and currently sits within the board of the Higher Council for Rights of Persons with Disabilities (HCPD).

Impact summary

  • Advocating to have service users to be elected in the board of the Higher Council for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; 9 service user representatives and 3 parents of persons with disabilities sit within the board of trustees
  • Service users have become key partners with UN agencies and iNGOs, currently 1 service user representative sits within the board of the Higher Council as well being members of the MHPSS coordination group
  • Developing a Jordanian National Mental Health Action Plan (2018-2021)

“It’s important to me that I can help my friends when they are dealing with things like depression. Before this training, I didn’t know what to do, but now I know that sometimes they just need someone to talk to, or someone to help them get psychological help”

Service users from Our Step - Peer to Peer Training

Innovation details

According to the WHO Disease Burden Estimates, Jordan ranks 4th in the Middle East for the burden of mental health conditions as measured by disability-adjusted life years (DALYs)1. Despite the high prevalence rate of common mental disorders, psychotic and behavioural disorders in the region2, there is limited representation and participation of mental health service users and their families in decision making related to mental health strategic planning in Jordan3.

In an effort to address this gap, the main objectives of the project were to:

  • Increase and ensure the active participation of people with lived experiences and their families in different forums
  • Establish an association fully dedicated to supporting and empowering the rights of people with mental health conditions through advocacy
  • Combat the social stigma associated with mental health problems, and promote mental health in the community.
  • Facilitate the representation of the mental health service users and their families in strategic national dialogues related to drafting key guidelines and policies

Key drivers

  • Patronage of HRH Princess Muna Al Husseien
  • Increasing political commitment
  • Support from national and international communities
  • A group of motivated service users and family members



Stigma towards mental health conditions.


Limited funding for mental health activities.


Resistance from the professional community towards accepting mental health service users in national committees.


This project was a first of its kind to include service users in decision making with the purpose of promoting mental health and prevention of mental health conditions. It will be available for other activities carried out by the services users when there is any opportunities for collaboration with NGOs.

During 2018, the service users where engaged in a joint collaboration with WHO and NGOs to promote mental health awareness at the community level, targeting vulnerable women and men from both the Jordanian and refugee community. Some activities are listed below:

  • Organization of protection support groups targeting youth (aged 18-24) and women
  • Organization of a two-week mental health awareness campaign on the occasion of the World Mental Health Day (10th October 2018)
  • Promotion of Peer-to-peer initiatives for vulnerable youth in Zarqa



Several donors took part in supporting the association since its establishment in 2010, including Kuwait, US BPRM, Italian Cooperation.

Evaluation methods

Depending on the activity, the association applies:

  • Pre-post training evaluation form to test the level of theoretical and practical knowledge acquired by participants
  • End of activity evaluation to explore impressions relating to attitudes towards mental health, challenges with mental health stigma, lack of belief or understanding of treatments for mental health conditions and sensitivity among families to be associated with mental health services
  • Focus Groups organized with beneficiaries and family members to evaluate their perceptions about the needs and gaps in MHPSS services

Cost of implementation

Cost varied depending on activity provided.

Impact details

This programme has been impactful in several ways. We have piloted the WHO QualityRights study in Jordan and developed a Jordanian National Mental Health Action Plan for 2018-2021. The programme has increased the representation of people with lived experience in the national mental health technical committee including 9 service user representatives and 3 parents of persons with disabilities sit within the board of trustees and 1 service user representative sitting within the board of the Higher Council for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.We also have service users as members of the MHPSS coordination group as well as becoming key partners with UN agencies and iNGOs.

There are 906 service users and family members that have benefited from capacity-building activities during 2017-2018.

The sessions were titled ‘Training on developing stress management skills and enhancing productivity for users of mental health services’.


  1. Alhasnawi S, Sadik S, et al. (2009) The prevalence and correlates of DSM-IV disorders in the Iraq Mental Health Survey (IMHS). World psychiatry, 8(2), 97 [Link]
  2. Hijiawi B, Elzein EH, Marini A, Funk M, et al. (2013) WHO Profile on mental health in development (WHO proMIND): Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Geneva, World Health Organization
  3. World Health Organization (2011). MiNDbank: National Mental Health Policy, The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
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