Being a mental health officer with MSF is an intense but rewarding job.
From providing psychological first aid to survivors of natural disasters to counselling HIV patients, our mental health officers play a vital role in our projects. Trauma is often the most painful aspect of surviving a conflict or disaster, or living with a disease. Mental healthcare is vital for recovery.
Our mental health officers often head groups of outreach workers and counsellors, providing care in health facilities or out in the community. In this role, you will provide the most appropriate support for patients using strategies and tools adapted to the context and culture.
Some days it feels like a bandage on a gaping wound. Other days the smiles and laughter fill my heart with joy and I lose any doubt that the work I am doing is worthwhile.Joelle Depeyrot, Mental health officer
This is an exciting and diverse role involving some or all of the following:
- Manage the mental healthcare activities for an entire hospital/project
- Provide care for victims of sexual violence
- Ensure mental health activities with patients are performed with regular follow-ups
- Manage, train and supervise the mental health team
- Ensure that the mental health team remains neutral during sessions, regardless of personal feelings/beliefs
- Ensure that the interpreters are trained in terminology and appropriate behaviour
- Identify the mental health support needs in the target population and plan the mental health strategy
- Map the details of existing mental health services, including other NGOs, community groups and government health services
- Identify and manage possible advocacy and protection issues
- Ensure that the mental health department participates in counselling, as well as prevention of parent to child transmission (PPTCT), and voluntary counselling and testing activities when needed
- Ensure that psychiatric patients receive proper treatment, including psychotropic medication and psychosocial support, either within an MSF programme or via an alternative resource
- Ensure the implementation of all MSF standard mental health protocols and procedures
Depending on our activities and needs, your responsibilities may be adapted according to the specific projects.
You will not face these challenges alone; other MSF team members (both international and locally hired staff) will provide technical support, including comprehensive guidelines and protocols.
- Master’s in clinical psychology
- Two years’ relevant professional experience, including behavioural techniques or counselling
- Recent clinical experience (at least six months within the last 24 months)
- Experience working with vulnerable people in an intercultural context
- IT skills (Excel, Word, PowerPoint)
- Fluency in English and/or French
- Available for a minimum of three months
- Commitment to MSF’s work and values
- Strong team player
- Willingness to work in all kinds of contexts worldwide, including unstable areas
- Adaptable and able to work in a multicultural team
- Flexible and able to manage stress
- Self-driven with a solution-oriented approach
- Ability to train others
- Experience with post-traumatic stress disorder, or victims of trauma and violence
- Additional psychotherapy training such as cognitive therapy, clinical social work or counselling
- Fluency in Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic or Russian
- Experience working in developing countries
- People management experience
Voices from the field
Each time that I succeed in bringing a smile back to their faces, I become more motivated to continue to do this hard yet important work.Floribert Nzaioturiki, MSF Mental Health Officer