Shaping the future: Our strategy for research and innovation in humanitarian response.

A global organisation that finds solutions to complex humanitarian problems through research and innovation..
Our purpose is clear: we work in partnership with a global community of humanitarian actors, researchers and innovators to improve the quality of humanitarian action and deliver better outcomes for people affected by crises.
We empower the humanitarian community. Find out how we can support you...

Why this focus area?

The impact of conflict and displacement on people’s mental health and psychosocial well-being can have significant immediate and long-term consequences for individuals, families, and communities. Whilst nearly all people affected by humanitarian crises will experience psychological distress, the prevalence of common mental disorders such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety are expected to more than double.  

Our work

Our work has contributed to strengthening the evidence for mental health and psychosocial support interventions in humanitarian settings. 

Since 2014 we have funded 28 studies using rigorous research methods to develop, pilot and evaluate effectiveness of MHPSS interventions. Our studies have focused on interventions addressing needs of vulnerable groups, general populations and for use in non-health sectors. Most have been designed for implementation by local, non-professional service providers in settings without trained health professionals. 

Our contribution to the MHPSS field has provided WHO with required levels of evidence to endorse and promote certain interventions, and has influenced inter-agency guidance and minimum standards, including the Sphere Handbook.  

"We now have many evidence-based low-intensity interventions thanks to funding from (Elrha) and others". - contribution from a key informant interviewed as part of our R2HC 2023 Impact Evaluation.

R2HC's MHPSS portfolio of funded research.
R2HC's MHPSS portfolio of funded research.
R2HC's MHPSS portfolio of funded research.
R2HC's MHPSS portfolio of funded research.

Our approach

We have contributed to systems change in relation to MHPSS by advancing opportunities for people affected by crisis to access relevant services as an integral part of humanitarian assistance. Our work has addressed three critical problems:

  1. The lack of a consensus based MHPSS research agenda that reflects priorities of humanitarian practitioners.
  2. The absence of evidence-based interventions to address the specific needs of different population groups.
  3. The lack of evidence on the effectiveness of MHPSS interventions.

Setting the MHPSS Research Agenda

In 2021 we funded the development of a consensus-based ten-year research agenda. Recognising the diverse MHPSS needs in humanitarian settings, and the growth in delivery of MHPSS programmes since 2010, this was an update of a research prioritisation conducted in 2011. 

One of the objectives of the update was to include input from a broad range of MHPSS stakeholders to ensure that research reflected local needs. We included a multi-stage consultation with people with lived experience, local practitioners, and policy makers in crisis-affected settings. 20 priority questions for MHPSS research in humanitarian settings were identified. 

MHPPS Research Priority Setting for 2021- 2030

We commissioned this review to establish an MHPSS research agenda for the next ten years.

Explore the Report

Related Resources from Elrha

Report Mental Health and Psychosocial Support

Review and assessment of Mental Health and Psychosocial Support intervention research in humanitarian settings

Infographic Mental Health and Psychosocial Support

Infographic: R2HC’s Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Portfolio

Peer Reviewed Mental Health and Psychosocial Support

Improving mental health and psychosocial wellbeing in humanitarian settings: reflections on research funded through R2HC

Article Mental Health and Psychosocial Support

Humanitarian Exchange – Mental health & psychosocial support in humanitarian crises special feature

Report Communicable disease (including infectious disease outbreaks), Ebola, Evidence Review, Health Systems & Services, Injury & Rehabilitation, Maternal and Child Health, Mental Health and Psychosocial Support, Non communicable disease, Nutrition, Sexual and Reproductive Health

The Humanitarian Health Evidence Review

Explore outputs from Elrha-funded research

Visit our Tools and Research page to see all of the outputs from our funded studies and innovation projects on mental health and psychosocial support.

Related Research Projects

Related Innovation Projects

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