IASC MHPSS Guidelines

Inter-Agency Standing Commitee's Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings

IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings

IASC Inter-Agency Standing Committee, 2007.

IASC who provides the guidelines was established by the United Nations Generally Assembly for the purpose of supporting coordination, policy development and decision making for humanitarian agencies. The creation of the guidelines is based on the psychological and social impact armed conflicts and natural disasters cause to the affected population which, apart from having a short-term impact, might lead to disruption of peace, human rights and development in the long-term. Therefore, the mental health and psychosocial well-being of survivors must be both protected and improved. The guidelines aim at increasing the effectiveness and timeliness of MHPSS focusing on practical actions and by enabling humanitarian actors and communities to plan, establish and coordinate a set of minimum multi-sectoral actions. Considering that the guidelines are multi-sectoral, humanitarian actors need to be selective in use of parts of the guidelines depending on their capacity and local needs.

The IASC MHPSS Guidelines adhere to a set of core principles which are Human Rights and Equity, Participation, Do No Harm, Building on Available Resources and Capacities, Integrated Support Systems and Multi-Layered Supports. These are crucial throughout all interventions and the Community-Based Psychosocial Support approach is based on the same core principles.

Further, in line with the multi-sectoral nature of the guidelines, it includes specific action sheets on a range of sectors which support the process of integrating CBPS into sector specific programming. These sectors have also guided the selection of most thematic areas in this Psychosocial Guide. More specifically these are:

  • Coordination 
  • Assessment, monitoring & evaluation
  • Protection & human rights standards
  • Human resources 
  • Community mobilisation & support
  • Health services
  • Education
  • Dissemination of information 
  • Food security & nutrition 
  • Shelter & site planning
  • Water & Sanitation

Further, more specific IASC MHPSS Guidelines: 

The IASC MHPSS Guidelines were developed in 2007 and the IASC MHPSS Reference Group has been working since that time to develop user-friendly adaptations for the guidelines for specific purposes and audiences (e.g. protection actors, health workers). 

At this site you can find links to many resources including:

  • IASC Guidelines on MHPSS in Emergencies (English and other languages)
  • IASC MHPSS guidelines – checklist for field use
  • IASC MHPSS guidance for protection actors
  • IASC MHPSS for camp coordinators

 Also see the following related material: 

IASC MHPSS Guidelines for download