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The MHPSS Framework

Each component of the Movement responds to mental health and psychosocial needs in accordance with its role and mandate. The pyramid model represents the framework of mental health and psychosocial support services that are required to address the needs of individuals, families, and communities in all contexts.

A key to organizing mental health and psychosocial support is to develop a layered system of complementary support that meets the needs of different groups. This multi-layered approach does not imply that all Movement components must provide services in all layers. However, Movement components are expected to assess, refer, and advocate in relation to the full spectrum of mental health and psychosocial support presented in the model, from basic psychosocial support through to specialized mental health care.

The top layer of the pyramid includes specialized clinical care and treatment for individuals with chronic mental health conditions and for persons suffering such severe distress and over such a period of time that they have difficulty coping in their daily lives. Examples of activities include treatment centres for survivors of torture and alternative approaches to drug therapy. Services are provided within State
healthcare and social welfare systems and in detention facilities.
The second layer of the pyramid includes promotion of positive mental health and psychosocial wellbeing, and prevention activities, with a specific focus on groups, families, and individuals at risk. Examples of activities include peer support and group work. Focused  psychosocial support can be provided by trained and supervised Red Cross Red Crescent staff and volunteers and/or trained community members.
The third layer of the pyramid includes prevention and treatment activities for individuals and families who present with more complicated psychological distress and for people at risk of developing mental health conditions. Examples of activities include basic psychological interventions, such as counselling and psychotherapy, which are usually provided in healthcare facilities with accompanying outreach work in community facilities, where this is culturally appropriate.
Activities in this layer are often integrated into health, protection, and education sectors and should be accessible to 100% of the affected population, where possible. Examples of activities include psychological first aid (PFA) and recreational activities. Basic psychosocial support can be provided by trained Red Cross Red Crescent staff and volunteers and/or trained community members.
The outer circle around the pyramid includes promoting access to rights in accordance with International Laws, and upholding people’s dignity through providing “principled” assistance according to the seven fundamental principles of Red Cross Red Crescent Movement. Mental health and psychosocial support activities contribute towards protection outcomes; and similarly, protection activities contribute towards mental health and psychosocial support outcomes. Examples of activities include advocating for and ensuring people living with mental health conditions and psychological distress are enabled to access the necessary services and ensuring that people placed in detention facilities are treated respectfully.
Guides & Tools
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Framework
The Red Cross Red Crescent Movement’s MHPSS Framework and the Mocca family
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