The Red Cross Red Crescent Research Network was established in June 2016 with the vision to provide effective humanitarian action through a strengthened evidence-base in the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement for MHPSS for beneficiaries, volunteers and staff.

The Research Network is a space for collaboration and shared learning that brings together MHPSS researchers and practitioners affiliated with the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement. Hosted by the IFRC Reference Centre for Psychosocial Support and co-led by the British Red Cross, the Research Network:

  • Releases quarterly newsletters highlighting important developments in global mental health research, events and funding opportunities
  • Hosts webinars that showcase best-practice and highlight lessons learned by those conducting research and evaluating programming
  • Organises biennial meetings where researchers and practitioners can meet, present their research and evaluations, and build new partnerships

The Research Network is seeking to connect with National Societies and other stakeholders who are interested in research and who would like to explore potential for research partnerships on mental health and psychosocial support in humanitarian settings.

Listen to or download the sound from the latest research meeting.

The Roadmap

In December 2019, the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement adopted a set of commitments addressing mental health and psychosocial needs. A Roadmap (2020–2023) has been developed to support a strategic and coordinated approach to the implementation of these commitments, with the aim to strengthen the Movement’s collective response to mental health and psychosocial needs.

Research is crucial to ensuring the realisation of the Roadmap ambitions. In particular, Priority Action Area 4 of the Roadmap focuses on ‘Demonstrating the impact of MHPSS interventions through research, evidence, monitoring and evaluation’. The Research Network will be instrumental in supporting this by highlighting and showcasing best practices across the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.

Spreadsheet on an Introduction to Basic Psychosocial Support Training

The Red Cross Red Crescent Movement aspires to have all staff and volunteers in the ICRC, IFRC and National Societies gain an awareness of basic psychosocial support.  In order to enable as many staff and volunteers to do this, resources with the following criteria were identified: that they were accessible (so usually delivered online); could be completed in between 30 and 60 minutes, and include an introduction on communication and listening skills and self-care. By completing one or more of these resources staff and volunteers will have an awareness of basic psychosocial support but will not have the competence to deliver psychosocial support such as Psychological First Aid.  To be competent at delivering psychosocial support, staff and volunteers are required to have additional training which includes a greater detail of information and skill development in order to be able to safely support people of different ages, backgrounds and experiences in a variety of settings.

Spreadsheet on MHPSS assessment, monitoring and evaluation tools and preparedness plans

In order to integrate mental health and psychosocial support variables and resources into assessments, evaluations and preparedness plans across different activities and contexts, existing, validated resources were identified with the following criteria:  those with a maximum of 10 items used by the Movement (such as those mentioned in assessment toolkits by the IFRC Reference Centre for Psychosocial Support, IFRC Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Response Framework and emergency focused guidelines), or other leading international agencies (e.g. Inter Agency Standing Committee of the United Nations, WHO, International Organization of Migration, UNICEF, Save the Children).

Ideally, these should:

  • be co-produced with relevant communities/populations;
  • be fit to appropriate skills (the priority is to identify basic tools at this point with no prior experience required),
  • be fit to the appropriate culture, context, language, population and resource requirements (e.g. time available, level of intensity and detail required, and the need for a partnership approach)
  • be relevant to the appropriate sequence of tools and plans (e.g. baselines, follow up and evaluations).

Research Network history

2019 Webinar

The concept of moral injury has become increasingly popular over the past years to describe“the lasting psychological, social and spiritual harm caused by actions that transgress a person’s deeply held moral beliefs and expectations“ But what does that actually mean? In this webinar, we unpack the concept of moral injury by asking three key questions:

  • What is the concept of moral injury and how does it expand our understanding of trauma?
  • What does the research on moral injury in relation to refugees show us?
  • How can we use the concept in relation to humanitarian workers?
2017 Webinar
  • Why is the evidence-base for PFA so limited?
  • What are the challenges for conducting research on PFA?

This webinar address these questions.

  • Eliza Cheung, Clinical psychologist, Hong Kong Red Cross and Technical Advisor, PS Centre
  • Koen van Praet, Clinical psychologist, Belgian Red Cross (Flanders)
  • Ferdinand Garoff, Psychologist, University of Tampere
2017 Annual meeting

Throughout the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement and the wider humanitarian community there is an increasing recognition of the need for building evidence to support mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) interventions. The 2017 Council of Delegates of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement passed the resolution Addressing Mental Health and Psychosocial Needs, which urges the Movement to increase their efforts to better understand the needs and challenges, and to collect evidence on MHPSS interventions in humanitarian responses.

The 2017 Annual Meeting of the Red Cross Red Crescent Research Network on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support brought together 32 people from 16 countries to share their research experience on two themes: mental health of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers and caring for staff and volunteers. The annual meeting was a combination of key note speakers, abstract presenters and workshops.

The book of abstracts includes the abstracts presented at the annual meeting. The range of abstracts reflect a growing interest for and experience with conducting research on MHPSS within the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement and we hope that other practitioners and researchers from within and outside the Movement will be inspired by and learn from the research presented in this book of abstract and that more people will join the research network in the coming years.

2016 Webinar series: Inner Resilience

A three part webinar series on Inner Resilience – Mental health and psychosocial support

Part 1: Psychosocial Support for Resilience Building: World Disaster Report 2016

Presented by Dr Maureen Mooney.

Part 2: Building Psychosocial Resilience: Experience from the CRUA project.

Presented by Dr Lee Devaney

Part 3: Q&A session

Five Essential Elements of Psychosocial Support – A conversation with Stevan Hobfoll

2007 Webinar: Five Essential Principles of Psychosocial Interventions

In 2007, Stevan E. Hobfoll published a key article on post-disaster psychosocial support with a team of international experts Five essential elements of immediate and mid-term mass trauma interventions: Empirical evidence. Accordingly, psychosocial support after disasters or other traumatic events should promote five essential principles:
Sense of safety, Calming, Self- and community efficacy, Social connectedness, Hope

In the 10 years following their publication, the five essential principles have been extremely influential among practitioners, researchers and policy makers around the world. But how have the five principles been used, or misused? Are they useful and appropriate in measuring outcomes of psychosocial interventions? And what is next for MHPSS research?

In conversation with Dr. Leslie Snider, Dr. Stevan E. Hobfoll examines these questions during a one-hour webinar hosted by the Red Cross Red Crescent Research Network on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support.