EU Supports UNRWA in Provision of Specialized Mental Health Services

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NRWA is currently mainstreaming mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) as a cross cutting issue, advocating for a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to address MHPSS needs of Palestine refugees. In this context, UNRWA Lebanon Filed Office is developing the capacities of frontline staff from all core departments by introducing a shared approach to identify MHPSS needs, provide basic support and if needed carry out qualified referrals.

The Agency’s Health Programme in Beirut will be conducting the Mental Health Gap Assistance Programme Training (mhGAP-IG) for one week from April 13 to 16, 2015, focusing on 41 general practitioners working in UNRWA twenty seven health centers in a series of four trainings implemented between April and June 2015. Medical staff will be equipped with enhanced capacity in mental health and psycho-social support, detection of mental health disorders and tailored pharmacological interventions in non specialized health care centers.

The training was developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and adapted for UNRWA – Lebanon, within the framework of the project ‘Improving the Living Conditions of Palestine Refugees in Lebanon’, funded by the European Union (EU).

As the Chief of UNRWA Health Programme in Lebanon, Dr. Najeh El-Sadek said: “This training is an important step in integration of mental health and psychosocial support within UNRWA primary health care settings. Thanks to the European Union, we will be able to provide Medical officers with necessary knowledge and skills to manage key mental health conditions, particularly in light of the current emergency, along with increasing insecurity in the region that has only added to the social and psychological pressure on the Palestine refugee communities”.

The trainings will continue throughout 2015. In parallel, a MHPSS community-based awareness-raising campaign is underway in Palestine refugee camps and gatherings, and which includes the provision of counseling and guidance on psychosocial support to parents and families of children and youth with disabilities.


UNRWA is a United Nations agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and is mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its mission is to help Palestine refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip to achieve their full potential in human development, pending a just solution to their plight. UNRWA’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, and microfinance.

Financial support to UNRWA has not kept pace with an increased demand for services caused by growing numbers of registered refugees, expanding need, and deepening poverty. As a result, the Agency's General Fund (GF), supporting UNRWA’s core activities and 97 per cent reliant on voluntary contributions, has begun each year with a large projected deficit. Currently the deficit stands at US$ 100 million.

For more information, please contact:

Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 240 2659
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0267
c.gunness@unrwa.org (link sends e-mail)

Sami Mshasha
Chief of Communications & Arabic Language Spokesperson
Mobile: +972 (0)54 216 8295
Office: +972 (0)2 589 0724
s.mshasha@unrwa.org (link sends e-mail)

Zizette Darkazally
Public Information Officer - Lebanon Field Office
Mobile: + 961 (0)1 840 490
Office: + 961 (0)1 840 490