a1 Health & Disability Advocates, Chicago, Illinois USA
a2 Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
a3 Department of Psychiatry, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, New Hampshire USA
a4 Harvard School of Public Health, FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, Boston, Massachusetts USA
a5 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland USA
a6 The Good Practice Group, Colombo, Sri Lanka; Social Policy and Research Centre, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka
a7 International Medical Corps, Middle East Programs, Beirut, Lebanon
a8 Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
a9 Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts USA Developmental Psychiatry Section, Cambridge University, UK
a10 Carmel Institute for Family Business, Carmel, California USA
a11 Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge, Massachusetts USA
a12 International Medical Corps, Washington DC USA
a13 Department of Psychiatry, Makerere University College of Health Sciences; Butabika Referral & Teaching Hospital, Kampala, Uganda
Introduction: The Working Group (WG) on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support participated in its second Humanitarian Action Summit in 2011. This year, the WG chose to focus on a new goal: reviewing practice related to transitioning mental health and psychosocial support programs from the emergency phase to long-term development. The Working Group's findings draw on a review of relevant literature as well as case examples.
Objectives: The objective of the Working Group was to identify factors that promote or hinder the long term sustainability of emergency mental health and psychosocial interventions in crisis and conflict, and to provide recommendations for transitioning such programs from relief to development.
Methods: The Working Group (WG) conducted a review of relevant literature and collected case examples based on experiences and observations of working group members in implementing mental and psychosocial programming in the field. The WG focused on reviewing literature on mental health and psychosocial programs and interventions that were established in conflict, disaster, protracted crisis settings, or transition from acute phase to development phase. The WG utilized case examples from programs in Lebanon, the Gaza Strip, Sierra Leone, Aceh (Indonesia), Sri Lanka, and New Orleans (United States).
Results: The WG identified five key thematic areas that should be addressed in order to successfully transition lasting and effective mental health and psychosocial programs from emergency settings to the development phase. The five areas identified were as follows: Government and Policy, Human Resources and Training, Programming and Services, Research and Monitoring, and Finance.
Conclusions: The group identified several recommendations for each thematic area, which were generated from key lessons learned by working group members through implementing mental health and psychosocial support programs in a variety of settings, some successfully sustained and some that were not.
(Online publication March 19 2012)