The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), a global humanitarian body devoted to the improvement of humanitarian coordination, established a Task Force on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) in emergency settings in 2005, to address the need for concrete guidance on how to organize mental health and psychosocial support in emergencies. Its members consist of UN agencies, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, a large consortium of NGOs such as the International Council of Voluntary Agencies and Interaction, as well as NGOs. In 2007, the Task Force achieved its initial goal of developing a practical, inter-agency, multi-sectoral guidance with the publication of the IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings.
The guidelines were launched in Geneva on 14 September 2007.
Furthering its work, the IASC Global Reference Group and the World Health Organization (WHO) developed a “4Ws” tool (Who, What, When, Where) to map MHPSS services in emergencies. The purpose of the tool is to gain a clearer picture of who is doing what, where and until when. Unlike other “3Ws” mapping tools often used across sectors, this tool also provides a comprehensive overview of the size and nature of an emergency response with respect to MHPSS. WHO and International Medical Corps (IMC) first piloted the tool in Jordan in 2009 in cooperation with UNICEF. A refined tool was applied for the second implementation in 2010, based on emerging issues and lessons learnt from previous mappings conducted in Jordan, Nepal and Haiti.
Using data and feedback collected by agencies piloting the tool, the IASC Reference Group developed a manual to guide the mapping process. This manual was published in 2013 and is available for download from the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support network, mhpss.net. Subsequent mappings were conducted in Jordan in 2010/2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, with the 2012 and 2013 mappings including Protection elements (specifically Gender-Based Violence and Child Protection) alongside MHPSS. The 2014 mapping however, excluded this additional information in order to allow a more specific focus on MHPSS activities.
Similar to the 2014 4Ws exercise, the 2015/2016 mapping specifically focuses on MHPSS interventions, collecting information on the broad range of mental health and psychosocial support activities provided to all beneficiary groups in Jordan. The list of MHPSS activities recommended by the IASC Reference Group, which include by category; community-focused MHPSS, case-focused MHPSS, and general support for MHPSS, is provided in Annex 2. This list was slightly modified over the years to capture additional inputs suggested by the Jordan Mental Health and Psychosocial Working Group.
This mapping took place during a time of turmoil within the Eastern Mediterranean Region, with ongoing conflict in several areas including Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Now approaching its sixth year, the Syrian conflict has forced well over 4.7 million of the country’s citizens to take refuge in neighboring countries. To date, it is estimated that over 639,704 displaced Syrians reside in Jordan,1 while government sources estimate an even higher number.2 Exposure to violence, loss and displacement, in addition to social and psychological stressors after displacement, as well as pre-existing MHPSS problems, have various implications on the MHPSS sub-sector and services in Jordan.