Mental Health other

Laying mental health foundations to help displaced people rebuild

Supporting the mental health needs of displaced people will be crucial to helping them lay the groundwork for future success.
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Mental Health is at the Research stage

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Information Flows

Displaced people live in challenging circumstances where accurate information can become difficult to obtain. Strengthening information flows can aid in decision-making and make their circumstances easier to manage.

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Mental Health

Supporting the mental health needs of displaced people will be crucial to helping them lay the groundwork for future success.

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Urban Housing

Rapid urbanization in many parts of the world has led to a great deal of challenges ensuring the availability of adequate housing. In the Middle East, this is coupled by...

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Voluntary and Spontaneous Returns

As people displaced by the Syria crisis begin returning to their homes, new approaches will be needed to deal with the unprecedented scale of returns.

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financing

Displacement Insurance

Displacement insurance disburses funds for swift life-saving action during crises, with an overall aim to make humanitarian aid more agile.

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resettlement

Placement Algorithm

U.S.

Airbel is piloting and scaling an innovative machine learning algorithm developed by the Stanford University Immigration Policy Lab that matches refugees in areas where they are likely to thrive when...

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resettlement

Resettlement Finance

In this new model for refugee resettlement finance, a self-sustaining fund provides countries with finance for refugee resettlement, and is replenished as refugees fuel economic growth.

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employment

Trade Accelerator

Focused support for Jordanian businesses to foster rapid growth and help them tap into the European market and hire refugees to do so.

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This project became inactive following the Generate Solutions phase

nutrition

Virtual Baby

This portable game would let children earn points for raising a happy baby, teaching them about sexual health and nutrition.

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This project became inactive following the Generate Solutions phase

resettlement

Ask Laila

A hotline, SMS, and web-based service to help resettled refugees get quick answers from a trusted local source - in their own language.

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This project became inactive following the Prototype phase

education

Pop Up Learning

Bangladesh

Pop-Up Learning is a computer-assisted learning program, aimed to mobilize quickly and efficiently on the onset of crisis.

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nutrition

Sprout

Niger

Over 16 million children under the age of 3 are afflicted by severe acute malnutrition. To pinpoint the most impactful prevention methods, Sprout is experimenting with 3 distinct approaches.

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education

Spark

Tanzania

Spark creates alternative learning spaces outside of refugee camp schools to practice play-based learning and social-emotional skills with primary school children.

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This project became inactive following the Prototype phase

resettlement

IRC Connect

United States

In partnership with Twilio.org, Airbel is developing an SMS-based system to streamline communication between caseworkers and newly-settled refugees as they adapt to their new lives in the United States.

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education

Coach Everu

Tanzania

Coach Erevu is a digital coaching program that aims to build the social emotional skills of teachers through weekly peer-to-peer video clubs, timely habit triggers, and bite-sized teaching materials

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nutrition

Low-Literacy Malnutrition Tools

South Sudan

In hard-to-reach areas local community health workers are key to treating malnourished children. Commonly used tools for diagnosing and treating malnutrition have been adapted to meet the needs of workers...

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This project graduated following the Pilot phase

education

Sesame Seeds

In this historic effort, IRC and Sesame Workshop help children whose lives have been uprooted by the Syrian war to build brighter futures.

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This project graduated following the Pilot phase

education

Tunakujenga

Tanzania

Tunakujenga is a family learning program that empowers caregivers to learn and practice social and emotional learning activities with their children at home.

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safety

Becoming One

Uganda

Becoming One is a counseling program designed to bring couples closer and prevent intimate partner violence. The program is delivered in partnership with local faith leaders, who guide couples through...

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employment

Match

Jordan

Working to counter the high rates of unemployment that follow mass displacement, the Match project in Jordan is testing a set of new innovations for placing vulnerable populations and refugees...

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safety

Modern Man

Liberia

Modern Man is a mobile messaging campaign that engages men with an aspirational and positive masculine identity to prevent intimate partner violence. It sends SMS messages to men who have...

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There are currently no projects in the Scale phase

A growing body of research points to the outsized impact of mental health issues in the refugee population. Common mental health disorders like anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder tend to double during emergencies, and tend to impact the most vulnerably most powerfully. Mental health issues and poverty also form a self-reinforcing cycle which can make it challenging for people to rebuild after facing trauma.

Most refugees live in low-income countries, where only 2 percent of health providers are trained in mental health. In Jordan, even prior to the Syria crisis, the WHO estimated that the country faced a shortage of well over 1,000 mental health professionals. Mental illness remains a taboo with significant cultural barriers to identifying challenges and seeking care.

Some key areas in which support can be provided includes:

  • Basic services and security, including food, shelter and access to clean water.
  • Community and family support, such as family reunification, creation of child friendly spaces, and activation of social networks.
  • Focused non-specialized support, such as individual, family or group interventions, and ongoing care through community-based primary health care systems.
  • Specialized services, including clinical mental health care and specialized support for psychiatric disorders and trauma.

There is increasing evidence that “non-specialist workers in primary-care and community settings can deliver mental health care with great effectiveness to a variety of populations.”. Therefore, opportunities for innovation may exist around:

  1. Standardizing outcomes and developing culturally sensitive assessment tools;
  2. Better articulating core principles for integrating mental health in various activities, such as social connections, exercise, and mindfulness; and
  3. Developing new business models to incentivize community members to effectively deliver mental health support.

February 2019 | Four focus areas selected for further ideation

Of the eight areas in which initial scoping was conducted, four were selected: voluntary and spontaneous returns; mental health; urban housing; and information flows.

July 2018 | Scoping exercise to understand problem areas

Eight problem areas arose from various sources, including community-driven Mahali lab, and work in the Jordan and Lebanon country offices. These areas were: urban housing, mental health, cash targeting, market interventions, voluntary returns, information flows, healthcare service delivery, and smart humanitarianism. IRC-Zolberg Fellows and IRC staff carried out desk research along with discussions with community members.

We develop new solutions to better serve people suffering the effects of conflict and crisis.