Mental Health & Psychosocial Support Specialist – NES At Save the Children

Mental Health & Psychosocial Support Specialist – Based in North East Syria

The Opportunity

The MHPSS Specialist will use their contextual understanding, technical expertise, and relationship building skills to support delivery of quality MHPSS interventions in North East Syria (NES). The role holder will technically oversee operationalization of the MHPSS strategy for the Syria Response Office in NES; support integration of MHPSS to NES programs across the humanitarian sectors; build MHPSS capacity of MHPSS officers, child protection and case management staff, other operational staff across sectors and the staff of partner organizations; and contribute to technical program design and implementation that is high quality and delivers positive change for children in NES. The role holder will further support the design and implementation of assessments, monitoring and evaluation systems to demonstrate impact.. Approximately 20% of this role will be an internal focus to advance organizational practice on staff care and wellbeing, advising and collaborating with HR but not providing any individual support to staff. The role holder will work closely with the Child Protection Specialist in NES, with relevant Technical Advisors (TAs) (Child Protection TA, Gender and Inclusion TA, MHPSS TA) in the main office in Amman, as well as with MHPSS officers, operations colleagues and partners..

MHPSS is in Syrian Response Office in NES is currently part of Child Protection thematic area. The focus is on scalable, non-focused and non-specialised community and family supports with a strong focus on gender and inclusion. The current MHPSS interventions include psychoeducation and MHPSS awareness raising, Save the Children’s HEART (Healing and Education through the Arts) program, Psychological First Aid (PFA) for Child Practitioners1&2, basic counselling, and “I support my friends” among others. There is an emphasis onChildren Associated with Armed Forces and Armed Groups (CAAFAG) and on cross-thematic integration with Education, Nutrition and WASH. In the event of a humanitarian emergency, the role holder will be expected to work outside the normal role profile and be able to vary working hours accordingly to provide needed MHPSS emergency support.

While the position is based in Hasakeh, travelling to and staying several days in row in the other two bases (Derek and Raqqa) is essential.

Reports to: Head of Programs (HoP); close collaboration with Child Protection Specialist, Nutrition Specialist, Education Specialist and FSL Specialist for MHPSS integration and, for technical support, with MHPSS TA; Gender and Inclusion TA, and Senior Child Protection TA.

Staff directly reporting to this post: No direct reports but expected to provide technical supervision (matrix management), oversight and coaching, to MHPSS officers, support to operational and other technical colleagues and as well as local partners in coordination with the CP Specialist.

Community-based MHPSS supports:
* Support MHPSS Officers with identifying, designing, planning and delivering community-based mental health promotion and prevention activities, around issues of concern to local communities, caregivers and children
* With the support of the Head of Programs, CP Specialist and relevant TAs, collaborate with the MHPSS Officers in each location to develop and adapt evidence-informed content for CB MHPSS activities, including MHPSS education and awareness materials relevant to MHPSS concerns in the local community

Structured MHPSS interventions for children and families:
* Train and capacitate MHPSS teams (SCI and partners) to plan and conduct structured MHPSS activities, based on agreed intervention packages and curriculums (ex. I support my friends, SAFE [Supporting Adolescents and their Families in Emergencies] program, HEART, among others).
* Monitor quality implementation and provide ongoing identification of training and capacity support needs
* Collaborate with the MHPSS TA and CP Specialist in the identification of additional structured MHPSS intervention packages for children, caregivers and families, to expand the existing portfolio if and as needed

Person-focused MHPSS supports to children and caregivers in need of additional support:
* Collaborate with thematic Advisors/Specialists to identify entry points for the provision of person-focused MHPS supports within Child Protection (i.e. case management), and potentially within other thematic programming as well; accordingly, collaborate to develop roll out/scale up plans
* Collaborate with the key Technical Advisors in the identification of relevant evidence-based person-focused intervention models and packages for children, caregivers and families
* Collaborate with MHPSS Technical Advisorin the definition or contextualization of practice guidelines and SOPs for the provision of person-focused MHPS supports
* Work with Child Protection/Education/Health/Nutrition/MHPSS Officers to identify staff and partner training needs, develop and adapt relevant training modules to ensure that the staff are equipped to provide safe and effective person-focused MHPSS supports. Initial focus may be on the Case Management teams (Coordinators, Officers and Assistants).
* Provide regular structured supervision to staff providing person-focused interventions, to ensure that they are providing high-quality evidence-based support, based on the agreed intervention models/packages and practice guidelines/SOPs; and provide day-to-day remote support on complex cases as needed.
* As and when intervention models are clarified and SOPs are in place, support staff providing person-focused interventions, to develop child-centered care plans for the children and families receiving focused MHPS support.
* Support and monitor the implementation of care plans, with special attention to risk assessment and safety concerns, and ensure proper documentation of decisions and outcomes.
* Develop and revise case documentation forms and referral systems, in coordination with CPIMS and GBVIMS platforms.
* Oversee the implementation of a safe confidential MHPSS record-keeping system that complements the existing Child Protection Case Management system and aligned to existing internal MEAL resources.

Staff Wellbeing
* Support the HR Department with developing staff wellbeing policies and plan, procurement/recruitment of individual staff supports, and with designing and delivering mental health promotion/self-care activities for staff. The MHPSS Specialist will not offer individual counseling support to staff.

* Collaborate with MEAL staff to oversee and provide technical support to the field-level implementation of robust monitoring, evaluation and learning systems for MHPSS activities.
* Technical support to MHPSS / multisectoral needs assessments when requested by HoP / MHPSS TA
* Ensure development, review, periodic updating and monitoring of MHPSS Quality Benchmarkings in collaboration with MHPSS TA
* Oversee the safe and ethical collection, storage and reporting of MHPSS program data.

Coordination, Representation and operational support:
* Work with program and area managers at the field level to ensure that the necessary operational support is in place MHPSS Officers to carry out their duties.
* Provide ongoing feedback to the HoP about operational needs and funding needs at each field location to inform proposal development and national, regional and global advocacy.
* Contribute to proposal development when requested by HoP
* Contribute to project reporting
* Work with MHPSS Officers to identify potential partner organizations in each field location and develop collaborative partnerships to benefit from local expertise, develop local MHPSS capacity, and improve the local impact and sustainability of MHPSS activities.
* The role holder will be the technical focal point for SC NES and will be asked to represent in internal and external engagements including representing in the relevant Technical working groups.
* The MHPSS Specialist will coordinate technical teams to accomplish assigned tasks in close collaboration with the HoP, CP Specialist and TAs as well as the field/area management.

Professional requirements:
* Stay up-to-date on evidence-based psychological interventions and advances in the field of Child and Adolescent Mental Health, community-based MHPSS as well as staff wellbeing / staff care.

* Advanced degree in Clinical or Counselling Psychology, Mental Health, or related field.
* Minimum of 5 years of progressively responsible professional experience in a similar capacity
* Proven hands-on practical experience in structured MHPSS intervention packages
* Experience in integrating MHPSS dimensions in thematic programming (Child Protection, Education, Nutrition and/or Livelihoods, particularly in humanitarian emergencies or protracted-conflict settings.
* Proven capacity to train, supervise, and coach staff in MHPSS technical skills and coordination, based on evidence-based approaches and intervention packages
* Sound knowledge of IASC MHPSS guidelines, MH Action plan, IASC MHPSS M&E Framework, human rights, and protection in humanitarian contexts.
* Understanding of project cycle and experience of tasks related to that, including needs assessments, project design, proposal writing and reporting
* Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work within different cultural environments.
* Good English written and verbal communication and reporting skills.
* Fluency in Arabic is required.
* Commitment to Save the Children values and Child Safeguarding.


* Experience working with IDPs and refugees from diverse cultures and nationalities.
* Certified training and practical experience in the provision of evidence-based, low-intensity psychological interventions (ex. PM+, SH+, IPT etc.)
* Understanding of the particular context and challenges related to CAAFAG in North East Syria
* Experience delivering SCI MHPSS packages, such as HEART or I Support my Friends.
* Kurdish language (Kurmanji dialect) skills

The duties and responsibilities listed are representative of the nature of work required and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

The Organisation
We employ approximately 25,000 people across the globe and work on the ground in over 100 countries to help children affected by crises, or those that need better healthcare, education and child protection. We also campaign and advocate at the highest levels to realise the right of children and to ensure their voices are heard.

We are working towards three breakthroughs in how the world treats children by 2030:
* No child dies from preventable causes before their 5th birthday
* All children learn from a quality basic education and that,
* Violence against children is no longer tolerated

We know that great people make a great organization, and that our employees play a crucial role in helping us achieve our ambitions for children. We value our people and offer a meaningful and rewarding career, along with a collaborative and inclusive environment where ambition, creativity, and integrity are highly valued.
Application Information:
Please attach a copy of your CV and cover letter with your application, and include details of your current remuneration and salary expectations. A copy of the full role profile can be found at

We need to keep children safe so our selection process, which includes rigorous background checks, reflects our commitment to the protection of children from abuse.

All employees are expected to carry out their duties in accordance with our global anti-harassment policy.
We encourage qualified women and persons with disabilities to apply.

How to apply


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