“It is important to de-mystify mental health and psychosocial support. No matter what kind of background you have, if you are helping people to overcome their problems, their human rights violations or their protection risks, then you can also do things to improve their mental health and psychosocial well-being.”
– Peter Ventevogel.
Read Forced Migration Review issue no. 66: Mental health and psychosocial support, Data and displacement, Missing migrants
In the first episode of the podcast series Heartbeat of Humanity in 2021, PS Centre Technical Adviser Sarah Harrison and UNHCR’s Senior Mental Health Officer Peter Ventevogel discuss the links between protection work and mental health and psychosocial support within the context of forced migration.
The conversation is inspired by an article in the latest issue of Forced Migration Review on the same topic: Engagement of protection actors in MHPSS: the need for cross-sectoral cooperation. The article, written by Sarah Harrison, William S Chemaly, Fahmy Hanna, Nancy Polutan-Teulières and Peter Ventevogel, emphasizes the need for multi-sectoral action and coordination in humanitarian emergencies.
Sarah and Peter discuss how protection-profiled staff and volunteers can integrate MHPSS into their work and how MHPSS actors can increase their awareness of protection.
“if we wish to help address people’s mental health and psychosocial support needs, we need to make sure there is a protective external environment around them.”
– Sarah Harrison
The episode also explores topics such as the importance of integrating a mental health component in primary health care for refugees, how to better support survivors of torture and sexual violence and the future UNHCR commitments to implementing MHPSS as a part of their protection work.
The PS Centre’s podcast, Heartbeat of Humanity, is about mental health and psychosocial support. It is mainly for staff and volunteers in the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement, especially staff and volunteers working in mental health and psychosocial support services. It covers various topics such as caring for staff and volunteers, the psychosocial effects from COVID-19 and MHPSS advocacy.