UNDP and WHO support the Iraqi Ministry of Health and National Security Advisory to provide Mental Health and Psychosocial Support training toward reintegration

November 30, 2021


Baghdad, 30 November 2021 – Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) services for IDPs and returnees will be reinforced thanks to a new training workshop organized by the United Nations Development Programme in Iraq (UNDP), the World Health Organization in Iraq (WHO), the Iraqi Ministry of Health and the National Security Advisory.

Experts from the World Health Organization and Ministry of Health developed and delivered the specialized training at a workshop in Baghdad from 14-16 November for 25 members of Iraqi government ministries. Sessions focused on the context of mental health in Iraq, understanding psychological first aid, mental health in the face of crises, understanding adversity and stress, and effective communication skills.

Trained representatives will provide Mental Health and Psychosocial Support to returnees to support their smooth reintegration back into their communities, building on UNDP Iraq’s community-based reconciliation and reintegration programming that aims to ensure the safe and dignified return and reintegration of Iraqis displaced by the conflict with the Islamic State and the Levant (ISIL).

“UNDP is committed to ensuring no one is left behind in Iraq. Supporting the mental health of both returnees and members of communities of return is a vital part of our programming to implement durable solutions for return and reintegration towards peace and social cohesion in Iraq,” says UNDP Iraq Resident Representative Zena Ali-Ahmad.

WHO representative Dr. Ahmed Zouiten states that, “Mental health is an integral part of health, and surely Universal Health Coverage will never be achieved without special attention to mental health issues. In Iraq, the demand for mental health services is on the rise amid the COVID-19 pandemic and due to the displacement crises and the subsequent humanitarian situations impacting some areas of the country. This joined training is a step in the right direction to scale up mental health and psychosocial support where it is most needed.”

Saaed Al Jayashi, Strategic Advisor, Office of the National Security Advisor, emphasizes, “This training targets the team that is formed from different government entities, based on the direction of the prime minister. We are optimistic that this training will increase the skills and understanding of team members and build their capacities to offer MHPSS to both returnees and displaced families.”

Dr. Emad Abdulrazzaq, National Advisor for Mental Health, Iraqi Ministry of Health, states, “This training is important to capacitate this team and provide quality assurance for mental health and psychosocial support services for those who will return to their communities. Government ministries need to provide support to this stigmatized population so they can return to their places of origin and regain well-being.”

In 2020, UNDP Iraq launched a dedicated five-year Social Cohesion Programme to promote stronger, peaceful, and more cohesive communities in all areas of Iraq, supported by the governments of Denmark, Germany, Japan, and the Netherlands.

Media contact:

Miriam Pineau, Media & Advocacy Project Specialist | +964 790 110 1982