Welcome to the Discussion Room for MHPSS in the Arab States


This room aims to facilitate the sharing of experiences, lessons learned, and good practices on integrating MHPSS into peacebuilding in the Arab region.

The room is open for any input you may want to share but to start the conversation it has been framed around two main themes with guiding questions. You can respond to one/more/none of these in your contributions, but please indicate on which of the themes/questions below you are sharing your insights. Kindly note that content translation is available on the top-right corner of the page, where you can choose among 100+ languages

In your responses, please introduce yourself and tell us whether you have a self-care regime or whether your organization provides staff care to ensure your wellbeing. 

We propose the following guiding questions:

Theme 1: Your experiences 

  1. How do you/your projects integrate/partner/collaborate with the other field?
  2. What have been your successes and/or challenges in linking your work with the other field?
  3. What context/regionally specific elements are you considering and including in your programming on linking MHPSS and Peacebuilding?

Theme 2: Enhancing integration

  1. What resources would your organization need to be better able to work in a way that integrates MHPSS into peacebuilding?
  2. What are the regional and/or cultural considerations that need to be kept in mind when integrating MHPSS into peacebuilding?
  3. What recommendations would you like to make to UNDP regarding the integration of MHPSS into peacebuilding?

Disclaimer: Please note that the room will be open from 11 October to 9 November 2021. Access of UNDP externals to the rooms is based on pre-registration only.

Comments (11)

Friederike Bubenzer
Friederike Bubenzer Moderator

Good morning friends around the world-we are delighted that you are interested in joining this online platform and would love to hear your thoughts on how to better link the fields of MHPSS and peacebuilding-all your comments are very (very) welcome.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Asma Ramzy
Asma Ramzy

سمعنا كتير اوي الفتره اللي فاتت عن حوادث انتحار لشباب في بداية حياتهم.. وبعد كل حادثة بنتقسم لجبهتين جبهة بتنتقد الفعل ده وكمان بتنتقد التعاطف معاه، وجبهة بتدافع عنهم وتقول إن ده خارج إرادتهم وان اكيد سببه مرض نفسي
طيب فكرنا نحط نفسنا مكان الشخص اللي أقدم على الانتحار ونتخيل السيناريو اللي دار في ذهنه قبل ما يلقى نفسي من برج أو مول أو أيا كان الوسيله البشعه اللي أنهى حياته بيها
فكرنا ازاي نقلل من الظاهره دي ونقضي عليها ونوعي الناس اللي حوالينا 
10/10 اليوم ده منظمة الصحة العالمية خصصته للتوعيه بالصحه النفسيه وتقديم الدعم النفسي للآخرين
تعالوا نتعلم مع بعض ازاي نكون دعم للناس اللي حوالينا اللي بيعانوا من مرض نفسي أو حتى بيعانوا من ضغط في حياتهم وكمان نقدم الدعم لنفسنا بأننا نفهم اكتر عن مشاعرنا ونفتح دايرتنا ونتكلم مع حد متخصص وواعي بكل ما يدور في ذهننا
تعالوا ننشر ثقافة الطبيب النفسي 
المرض النفسي زي اي مرض عضوي مزمن وقد يكون أشرس وأخطر على حياة صاحبه
خلونا نساعدهم بأننا على الأقل نفهمهم ونحس بيهم

Friederike Bubenzer
Friederike Bubenzer Moderator

Dear Asma, thank you for reminding us about the importance of understanding and doing more to prevent suicide. As someone who lives with depression, I appreciate your call for empathy and compassion immensely. And much more needs to be done to raise awareness, to make it ok to talk about our mental health and to create pathways for people to find the support they need, Sadly this is often not available in the post-conflict contexts where most of us work.


We'd love to hear more from you and the context in which you are living- what local supports exist to help people with MH problems? Can those be built on? If yes, how?

Marian Tankink
Marian Tankink Moderator

Dear Asma.

You are right, suicide thoughts or attempts are very serious problems in emergencies setting and in post-conflict situations. Intervention, the Journal of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Conflict Affected Areas, has published in September 2021 a special section on suicide prevention and response. It is open access; it might be interesting for you. It is not in Arabic, but hopefully you have a translation tool. See: https://www.interventionjournal.org/currentissue.asp?sabs=n

Sandra Willis
Sandra Willis

Dear all,

Simply... I feel so lucky to be part of this group and look forward to learning from all fellow participants and moderators while advancing the discussions on MHPSS in the context of peace and conflict. 

To provide context of our work in the Teachers College Global Mental Health Lab (GMH Lab: https://www.tc.columbia.edu/gmhlab/), please allow me to share with you our research and capacity-building foci in prevention and treatment of mental health conditions in under-resourced communities. Our projects involve locally relevant assessment of mental disorders, cultural adaptation and testing of interventions, and scaling-up of evidence-based practices to inform policy. This includes consultation and training in Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT).

The GMH Lab has worked extensively in Lebanon in collaboration with the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health, the International Medical Corps (IMC), NGOs, and mental health departments of academic centers to conduct a systematic training-of-trainers in Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) to build sustainable capacity in Lebanese mental health educators and providers of all relevant disciplines (psychologists, social workers, nurses, psychiatrists) on a national level to serve the host, displaced and refugee communities.

When concerning the topic of suicide, I can share an upcoming Mental Health For ALL #MHForAll webinar, The Case for Decriminalising Suicide on Tuesday 26th October at 09:00 EST, 14:00 BST, with the following speakers:

  • Sarah Johnson (The Guardian) 
  • Nathalie Drew (The World Health Organization) 
  • Senator Shahadat Awan (Islamic Republic of Pakistan)
  • Soumitra Pathare (Center for Mental Health Law & Policy, India) 
Gitte Nordentoft
Gitte Nordentoft

Dear Sandra,

Thank you so much for sharing about your work and the upcoming webinar. 

I would be really interested in hearing more about how you work with and support existing institutions to provide these mental health and psychological services. Considering that your organistaion is present across different countries, what are the experiences around adapting your approach to existing systems and approaches? Looking forward to learn more!


Chavia Ali
Chavia Ali

Dear Colleagues,

my name is Chavia and I am the Regional Focal Point with Persons for Disability in RBAS. I’m based at the regional hub so don’t work on specific projects, however in general I think that the focus should be on the community, ensuring that everyone feels included. It’s important to start on small joint projects in order to identify where the barriers for cooperation lie, and to have a dialogue with concerned communities about what is relevant to them and avoid top-down implementation. I think that we should also avoid talking about risk groups, since everyone in a conflict has been affected by it and therefore could be suffering from mental health issues. At this stage I think it is difficult to identify what resources are needed until we identify projects and partners for collaboration.

Rita Angelini
Rita Angelini

Dear colleagues,

Thank you for your contributions so far. We are glad to inform you that the closure of the room has been extended to 9 November, in order to allow your widest participation possible.

As such, we encourage you to continue sharing your regional perspectives and experiences, and involve other colleagues if possible.



Mohamed Ibrahim
Mohamed Ibrahim

Dear all,

Just joining the conversation now and great to see such platform.

I am based in Somalia and work with WHO on mental health. We just completed a PBF funded MHPSS & PB project and hope to see the outcome of this pilot project with evaluation and research component going on at the moment.

Our focus was on MHPSS service provision with components of raising awareness on substance use, conflict and GBSV. We trained health workers (Nurses, physicians) on mhGAP, then Community Health Works on psychosocial interventions (PFA), peer to peer support group, leaders and religious folks on awareness on stigma, substance use and GBSV issues.

I guess, one of the outstanding issue for me is the lack of solid clarity on the MHPSS & PB paradigm. There's not research findings out there on outcomes, methodologies and guidelines on best practices on this rather new model or approach.

I will appreciate if anyone can share their experiences on integrating MHPSS & PB. If any best practices out there and possible some discussion on developing practical steps for program managers and practitioners.

I have real keen interest and some practical experience but I still feel not enough knowledge base to lean on.

Will be looking forward to hearing more from the group and facilitators 

Marian Tankink
Marian Tankink Moderator

Dear all, thanks a lot for participating in the consultation room  and/or SparkBlue. As Friederike stated in one of the groups, we need to develop a common set of indicators in order to assess whether an integrated approach indeed contributes to more sustainable outcomes for each field. I would like to know if already such indicators are developed and used. I hope that you want to share that with us and also how these indicators are developed and how it works out in practice. Please let us know.

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