We believe in ensuring the safety of people whose rights have been violated and empowering them to actively engage in their communities and drive social change.

Our mission is to secure the rights and well-being of marginalized people and communities.

Summary of relevant work: 

Heartland Alliance International (HAI) has more than three decades of experience providing trauma-informed mental health and psychosocial support services, including support to individuals, families and communities that have been exposed to political oppression, torture, war, conflict, and gender-based violence.

HAI’s approach to trauma-informed care recognizes that the effects of trauma are multi-faceted and can impact individuals’ psychological wellbeing, physical health, spiritual beliefs and ability to care for themselves and their families and participate in community life. HAI also recognizes that trauma has impacts on family, community and society and that effective trauma informed approaches need to consider interventions at these levels.  HAI’s integrated approach includes health services, mental health and psychosocial support services, and case management support.  HAI utilizes a strengths and resilience based approach to its services and seeks to build national capacity in order to ensure program sustainability.

Examples of HAI’s mental health and psychosocial support programming include:

  • In Colombia, HAI partners with local organizations and public health institutions to provide effective evidence-based and culturally adapted mental health and psychosocial support services to survivors of one of the most devastating ongoing conflicts in the Western Hemisphere. HAI has provided services to more than 3,000 individuals, many of whom were diagnosed with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and trained over 100 survivors to become community-based psychosocial workers.
  • HAI offers psychosocial support services to women and children affected by gender-based violence in Lebanon, creating “Safe Spaces” where trained psychosocial workers support Lebanese women and girls and Syrian refugees. Since 2013, HAI has reached more than 3,000 women and girls with this intervention.
  • HAI has worked extensively with the Government of Iraq to improve mental health facilities and treatment practices in both the Kurdistan region and Federal Iraq. This includes helping legislators, psychiatrists, and community stakeholders draft and pass a Mental Health Act in 2013 that set forth guidelines regarding the rights of institutionalized persons and working with the Ministry of Health to shut down an inhumane facility for the individuals with mental illness in Erbil and transfer patients to more appropriate facilities for alternative treatment. HAI has also pioneered torture treatment programs in Iraq, establishing WCHAN, the first and largest independent torture treatment program in Iraq, and conducting a three year study on intervention outcomes for treating survivors of torture.
  • The Marjorie Kovler Center for the Treatment of Survivors of Torture, based in Chicago, Illinois, is one of the oldest and largest torture treatment centers in the United States, drawing on the skills of more than 100 staff and volunteer mental health and medical professionals to provide services for more than 350 survivors of torture per year from 77 countries.
  • In eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the complex emergency has resulted in displacement, conflict and high rates of gender based violence. HAI has sought to address the mental health needs of the affected communities by improving the quality and increasing the coverage of health systems and community-based mental health services. Through these efforts, HAI has educated more than 200 medical staff in identification and referral of priority mental health conditions and trained 20 national psychologists, who have in turn provided mental health and psychosocial support services to more than 4,000 people in South Kivu province.

208 S. LaSalle Street, Suite 1300
Chicago, IL 60604

Seeking collaboration with: 
Other organizations
Experts by experience/service users
Policy makers
United States of America