The Netherlands continues its leadership role in supporting the mental health of people affected by humanitarian crises – Colombia


In the year On 3 July 2023, Paul Becker, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Netherlands to the United Nations Office in Geneva, and Dr. Katrina Bohme, Assistant General for External Relations and Administration, met to renew the partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO). ) to strengthen mental health and psychological support in humanitarian crises.

Since 2019, the Netherlands has supported the WHO in collaboration with our partners UNICEF, UNHCR and UNFPA to develop and pilot a Minimum Service Package (MSP) for mental health and psychiatric community support in humanitarian emergencies. The MSP builds on existing standards and tools to create a single, easy-to-follow intersectional package to reduce suffering and improve mental health and psychological well-being among adults, children and youth living in humanitarian crises. The Netherlands has contributed €5 million (from 2019-2021) to the package, which includes international field trials and demonstration projects in five countries (Colombia, Iraq, Nigeria, Ukraine, South Sudan). The final MSP was launched in December 2022. To date, more than 2,000 humanitarian actors have focused on the MSP, and more than 21,000 people from over 150 countries have accessed the MSP website.

The next phase of the project will focus on increasing the capacity of MHPSS to use MSP in humanitarian contexts, especially among local actors. This will include more intensive support by MHPSS professionals at the country level. The project will strengthen the MHPSS Needs Assessment in Humanitarian Emergencies, a multi-sectoral MHPSS assessment toolkit. Having appropriate and practical tools to rapidly assess the needs of MHPSS in various sectors such as health, protection and education will help ensure that resources are directed effectively to help affected populations rebuild their lives.

Ambassador Paul Bakers said the pandemic has shown us all how much the pandemic affects the mental health and psychological well-being of people around the world. Therefore, it is important to have the tools and capacity to solve the problem. MSP is an important part of that toolbox. Mental health and psychosocial well-being are critical to resilience and self-reliance, particularly among women and youth, but also for communities and nations.

Thanking Ambassador Becker for this contribution, Dr. Katrina Boehme commented, “WHO appreciates the Netherlands’ long-standing leadership in supporting psychological support in mental health and humanitarian emergencies. We welcome the Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation’s decision to renew its partnership with WHO and partners to work together to alleviate suffering and improve the mental health of people affected by humanitarian crises.

The Netherlands is a long-standing supporter and partner of the WHO. Through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, the Netherlands has important work not only on mental health, but also on water and sanitation, tuberculosis, sexual and reproductive health in emergencies, One Health, emergency preparedness. , primary health care, antimicrobial resistance, facilitating cooperation with many leading Dutch institutions.

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