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Humanitarian actors in emergencies often encounter challenges in knowing Who is Where, When, doing What (4Ws) with regard to mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS). Such knowledge is essential to inform coordination. 4Ws tools are used in many areas of aid to map activities conducted across large geographical areas. 4Ws tools generally aim to map supports by government and non-governmental agencies, including preemergency services and supports. The IASC Reference group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support has developed a 4Ws tool to map MHPSS activities in humanitarian settings across sectors. It is envisioned that this tool will be used by groups with MHPSS coordination responsibilities in emergencies with numerous MHPSS actors. The tool exists of 2 parts: (a) A 4Ws Data Collection Spreadsheet application (in Excel), available at mhpss.net/4Ws1 (b) This manual, which describes how to collect the data.

This 4Ws tool for MHPSS is useful for the following:

(a) Providing a big picture of the size and nature of the MHPSS response

(b) Identifying gaps in the MHPSS response to enable coordinated action

(c) Enabling referral by making information available about who is where, when, doing what

(d) Informing appeal processes (e.g., Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP))

(e) Improving transparency and legitimacy of MHPSS through structured documentation

(f) Improving possibilities for reviewing patterns of practice and for drawing lessons for future response.

Treatment, care and rehabilitation
Training, education and capacity building
All disorders
Humanitarian and conflict health
Middle East
North America
Central America and the Caribbean
South America
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  • This resource is also available for download in Step 1 'Assess & Plan for Mental Health Integration' of International Medical Corps’ “Mental Health Integration Toolkit”. The Toolkit aims to increase the understanding of integrated mental health programs in humanitarian settings, and provides valuable guidance for better resource allocation and implementation of the steps and components of Mental Health Integration.

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