Mental Health and Psychosocial Support

Mental illness is one of the great invisible burdens on all societies, accounting for 4 of the 10 leading causes of disability worldwide. Yet in low-income countries, there is only one psychiatrist per every two million people and psychologists or social workers are in short supply. During emergencies the percentage of those suffering common mental disorders can double from 10 to 20 percent, while those with pre-existing and severe mental illnesses often have no access to care.

International Medical Corps is an acknowledged leader in meeting mental health and psychosocial needs during humanitarian crises, as well as strengthening mental health care systems and the skills of those who manage them.

We have implemented Mental Health and Psychosocial programs in: Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Iraq, Turkey, Libya, Yemen, Chad, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Japan, the Philippines, Liberia and Nepal.


  • Mental Health Advocacy
  • Mental Health/Psychosocial Support Assessments, Coordination and Mapping
  • Integrated Mental Health/Psychosocial Support Services and Activities

Resilience in Lebanon
With tears streaking his face, Numan*, 28, recounts his last 15 years in Syria. At the age of two, he was abandoned in the street by his biological parents. A family then adopted him. His adoptive father was intensely authoritarian and grew increasingly fundamentalist over the years.


Responding to Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Needs in Humanitarian Crises

As one of the very few international relief organizations to make mental health care a priority, International Medical Corps has the capacity to respond to mental health and psychosocial needs in the context of humanitarian crises, as well as in mental health system strengthening and informing national policies in the longer term development context.

We achieved significant breakthroughs recently in the fight for comprehensive mental health care - historically one of the great neglected burdens of developing societies - by:

  • Launching a large-scale, regional initiative that will bring mental health and psychosocial support to displaced Syrians in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Syria and Iraq. Strengthening national health systems by training medical and non-medical professionals to handle increased demands for mental health and psychosocial services triggered by the Middle East's biggest refugee crisis in two generations. The size of the program and International Medical Corps’ approach to mental health reflects how affected populations have multiple and complex needs and require a comprehensive mental health and case management approach which identifies, supports and protects those who are vulnerable and promotes stability and recovery.
  • Spearheading initiatives within and beyond targeted healthcare facilities that promote mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) for Typhoon Haiyan-affected people in the Philippines. International Medical Corps is working with traditional community-based support systems, involving social workers, faith leaders and other key persons at the community level who can provide basic psychosocial support, linking them to doctors and nurses trained by International Medical corps using mhGAP on the identification and frontline management of mental health priority conditions; thus strengthening and expanding the continuum of care from the community to health facilities and back down.

Mental Health Around the Globe

World Mental Health Day

On October 10th, 2015 International Medical Corps celebrated World Mental Health Day globally. It was a day to celebrate, advocate, promote the people that we support and recognize the work of health workers on the front lines of the mental health crisis. The following is the worldwide snapshot of how International Medical Corps expressed how DIGNITY can be maintained within the mental health sector – from patients and clients to general public attitudes.



2012 Mental Health & Psychosocial Capabilities Statement

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2014 Mental Health: The Invisible Burden Advocacy Sheet

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2015 Mental Health & Psychosocial Support Capacities and Experiences

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2012 Our Approach to Mental Health & Psychosocial Support

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2015 Mental health & Psychosocial Support in Humanitarian Emergencies

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2015 Mental health & Psychosocial Support: Year in Review

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2016 Mental Health Integration into General Healthcare: A Step-Wise Approach

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Mental Health Gap Action Programme

An International Medical Corps & World Health Organization Collaboration



A Ground-breaking Move for Mental Health Services in Kabul, Afghanistan

International Medical Corps, in conjunction with the European Commission (EC) and Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health, broke ground on construction that will strengthen operations of the Mental Health Hospital and associated Jangalak Substance Misuse Center in Kabul.