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.
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Principal Investigators: Alexandra Hartman (UCL), Giuseppe Raviola (Harvard Medical School), Jonathan Weigel (LSE) & Kyaw Zay Ya (Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute)


Mental disorders are the leading cause of morbidity worldwide, and yet up to 90% of people with common and severe mental disorders in low-income countries receive no treatment. The gap between morbidity and care is greater still in humanitarian contexts. Although community-based non-specialist models of care have shown great promise in closing this gap, the evidence base is limited on several critical questions.

This study will first ask, what are the individual- and community-level effects of non-specialist psychosocial service delivery on mental health, social cohesion, and economic outcomes in remote, conflict-affected areas? Second, what modes of psychosocial service delivery are best suited to humanitarian contexts, given both the burden of disease and operational challenges of working in fragile contexts?

We are studying these questions in collaboration with Community Partners International (CPI) and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) in Kayin, Myanmar. We will evaluate CPI’s Mental Health & Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) programme, as well as a low-cost self-help group alternative, randomised on the village level in Kayin.

Alexandra Hartman

Co-Investigator (UCL)

We hope participants in the programme will find themselves more resilient to the multifaceted challenges they face, and that the study will help fill the evidence gap about how best to provide psychosocial first aid in remote and conflict-affected settings

Women in Kachin State, Myanmar, participate in a focus group discussion on mental health and psychosocial support services conducted by researchers from Community Partners International. Credit: Community Partners International.

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