The Reference Centre for Psychosocial Support (PS Centre) works under the framework of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC), and supports National Societies in promoting and enabling the psychosocial well-being of beneficiaries, staff and volunteers.
The overall objective of the IFRC Psychosocial Support Programme is to assist the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement to:
Create awareness regarding psychosocial reactions at a time of disaster or long-term social disruption.
Set up and improve preparedness and response mechanisms at global, regional and local levels.
Promote the resilience and thereby the rehabilitation of individuals
and coping mechanisms.
Enhance emotional assistance
to staff and volunteers.
Facilitate psychosocial support before,
during and after disasters.
This overall mandate is achieved within the context of the current Strategy 2020 and policy framework of the IFRC. As part of the IFRC, the PS Centre is guided by the seven fundamental principles and relevant policies, and works towards the achievement of Strategy 2020 and the three strategic aims outlined within it. Accordingly, the PS Centre will work to:
The aim is to enable National Societies to understand, respond and utilize evidence based practice in meeting the psychosocial needs of vulnerable groups. Technical support, including assessment, training, support, monitoring and evaluations is key to integrating psychosocial care in (a) disaster preparedness and response (b) complex emergencies and refugee situations, (c) areas of community health, social welfare and youth. The strategic framework for the activities of the IFRC psychosocial programme for the coming five years (2016-20) is based on the May 2003 Federation Psychological Support Policy. This policy underlines the need for mainstreaming psychosocial support in the core programmes of the Federation and its National Societies and establishes the basis of Red Cross and Red Crescent interventions both in emergency response operations and in the implementation of long-term development programs.
PS Centre Strategical Operational Framework 2016 to 2020
The Strategic Operational Framework (SOF) for 2016-2020 for the IFRC Reference Centre for Psychosocial Support (PS Centre) and the IFRC Psychosocial programme (PSP) is an adapted and updated version of the SOF for 2011-2015, prepared and aligned with Strategy 2020 and the strategic operational framework of the health department (global health team). The PS Centre is a centre of excellence. It was established in 1993 and is hosted by Danish Red Cross. It is mandated to support, promote, and advocate for the awareness and implementation of psychosocial support through the IFRC Psychosocial Support Programme (PSP). The objective and the functions of the Centre described in this document are outlined in the hosting agreement between Danish Red Cross and the IFRC. This document complements the IFRC Psychosocial Support Policy and provides the platform for the work and management of the PS Centre.
The International Federation of Red Cross Red Crescent Societies Psychological Support Programme emerged in the early 1990s at a time when an increasing number of National Societies realized that disasters can lead to not just physical but also mental issues in affected populations, and that the traditional way of offering relief in the form of shelter, food and medical care was often not enough.
As a result, the Reference Centre for Psychosocial Support (PS Centre) was established in 1993 as a “Centre of Excellence” to support National Societies in promoting and enabling the psychosocial well-being of beneficiaries, staff and volunteers. Hosted by Danish Red Cross and located in Copenhagen, Denmark, the Centre is a delegated function of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
PS Centre timeline: From trauma to resilience
The IFRC launches the Psychological Support Programme as a cross-cutting programme under the Health & Care Division.
The International Federation Reference Centre for Psychological Support is established.
Dissatisfaction with the traditional trauma-focused mental health interventions implemented in the aftermath of disasters and conflicts is growing. Along with this, the articulation of many alternative approaches to psychosocial intervention emerges with the acknowledgement of people’s capacity for resilience.
The International Federation Psychological Support Policy Paper establishes the basis of Red Cross and Red Crescent intervention both in emergency response operations and in the implementation of long-term development programmes.
The Centre changes its name to the Reference Centre for Psychosocial Support, underlining the community-based character of the interventions.
A joint Movement policy and a resolution on addressing mental health and psychosocial needs of people affected by armed conflicts, natural disasters and other emergencies were adopted in December 2019.