Mental Health Advisor


 The mental health advisor will be part of the medical department that provides strategic guidance and technical support on medical issues to the Operation Department and the field teams (coordination and projects), as well as recommendations and support for other support departments such as, among others the logistic and human resources departments.

The Medical Department (MED) is composed of medical staff working in operational cells (deputy operations coordination) and advisors/referents covering the following fields: epidemiology, infectious diseases, vector-borne diseases, vaccination, nutrition, pediatrics, sexual and reproductive health, HIV/TB,  Hepatitis C, chronic non-communicable diseases, mental health, pharmacy, laboratory, hospital management, infection control and prevention, nursing care, biomedical, health promotion, patient community support, operational research, water and sanitation, health information system, medical documentation and archiving, medical training and the SAGE unit (Surgery, Anesthesiology, Gynecology-obstetrics and Emergency care).

The Mental Health (MH) referent will work in the medical department in close collaboration with another full time MH referent. S/he will be in charge of field support, training, and development of technical tools such as guidelines, protocols, kits, etc.

The MH referent is ensuring quality of MSF-OCB projects by:

Providing technical support throughout the whole project cycle (situation analysis, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation) when dealing with mental health components or psychosocial-related issues.

Developing further the MSF-OCB strategy in the area of mental health/psychosocial in different operational contexts.

Helping to improve the medical services and the competences of teams in terms of mental health and psychosocial support.

This will require close collaboration with the field, operations and other health advisors from the medical department.


The main areas of responsibility of the Mental Health Advisor are: 

Provide quality and timely support to the cells and field staff concerning mental health and psychosocial care services in their projects.

  • Give technical support to field programs through:
    • Respond to technical queries, discuss cases, provide feedback on context adaptation of protocols 
    • Field visits to support implementation of quality mental health interventions
    • Collaborate with the medical responsible in the concerned operational cell and relevant medical department referents.
    • Support recruitment (including competences assessment) and matching of mental health staff.
    • Support evaluation of mental health staff;
  • Give strategic support to field programs on mental health issues through:
    • Collaborate with the medical responsible in the concerned operational cell and relevant medical department referents to provide strategic direction to the field.
    • Coordinate or carry out assessments for new mental health interventions and give expert advice regarding programme set-up.
    • Support human resources needs assessment for mental health activities in the field, including feasibility and relevance for task shifting.
    • Support field innovation.
    • Support advocacy strategies both at field level as at international levels; through data analysis, problem or needs identification and technical advise in terms of proposed solution.
    • Participate in patio, comité de projets, annual review of operations meetings.
    • Contribute to the definition of indicators and required data base necessary for monitoring of mental health activities in the field.
  • Assure the technical briefing & debriefing of psychologists and psychiatrists, medical and field coordinators leaving for and returning from MSF field missions, and follow-up on specific issues/concerns with the coordinators and medical responsible of the respective cell. 

Lead the development and implementation of mental health policy and strategy in MSF-OCB operations;

  • Ensure landscaping, it is updates of new developments in the mental health/psycho-social /psychiatry field.
  • Participate to the development/revision of policies, guidelines, protocols, tools and other strategic papers in the field of mental health and psycho-social care related topics.
  • Participate to the development of mental health components in the essential documents (policies, protocols, guideleines etc.) of other disciplines such as pediatrics, reproductive health, non-communicable diseases etc.
  • Participate to the knowledge management
  • Participate to circles when required/relevant such as “palliative care”, “unaccompanied minors” etc.
  • Identify major gaps in mental heath care in the field and recommend strategies to address these.
  • Give guidance for planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of health services in the field, including objectives , targets and relevant activities for mental health and services.
  • Recommend horizontal integrated mental health strategies in every project when needed.
  • Identify and evaluate new techniques, and field of intervention adapted and relevant to MSF fields for mental health programs, support new models of care.

Promote trainings in Mental health

  • Identify the gaps in mental health training and coaching of staff.
  • Ensure the promotion, development and provision of internal training: specialized MH training (bi yearly MH training/training on psychiatric care), modules in MSF internal training and workshops (FMLT, HP, SRH…), as well as training for external organizations

Analyse activities in his/her field of expertise

  • Analyse the data in his/her field of expertise and regulary share this analysis with the relevant stakeholder. 
  • Ensure the development of relevant operational research following the operational research frame. Support presentation and publication of operational research results
  • Follow-up and monitor activities related to his/her dossier. 
  • Evaluate mental health projects and mental health activities through field visits, debriefings, report-reading, etc.
  • Capitalize the MSF experience in his/her field of expertise and disseminate lessons learned.
  • Support annual mental health activity report writing.

Ensure good collaboration and assure representation within and outside MSF

  • Collaborate closely with the other MH referent and the psychiatric consultant
  • Collaborate with other referents in the medical department and operations department on subjects of common interest: patient community support, health promotion, anthropologists, intercultural mediators, sexual and reproductive health, paediatrics, nutrition, adolescent health, non-communicable disease, researchers, health information system etc.
  • Build a relevant network of experts in mental health issues and in humanitarian aid around mental health.
  • Participate, promote, be in charge of capitalization of the MSF-OCB experience in the field of mental health-psychosocial.
  • When needed, represent OCB position in term of MH externally (other MSF sections, universities, colloquia...) and maintain contacts with external MH professionals
  • Participate to the medical meetings, the coordination week and the B&O (bilan et objective) exercices.
  • Identify possibilites of partnerships for mental health technical and operational support
  • Particpate to workshops, international expert groups organized by WHO, academic institutions or other validated initiatives when relevant.
  • When needed to participate to meetings/VC with the MH international working group.
  • When needed, collaborate with the HR pool manager in the management of HR in the MH field
  • Ensure proper collaboration with  for the communication and analysis departements


  • Education and experience
  • Master in clinical psychology (or equivalent) or Doctor in Psychiatry
  • Minimum 3-years field experience in planning and implementation of MH activities interventions in resource poor settings and humanitarian emergencies;
  • MSF experience is required
  • Eclectic post-graduate training or interest not restricted to one only psychological school, in order to be able to have a broad problem solving capacity and adaptability to the reality of the work in the field.


  • Aptitude for human relations, communication and teamwork
  • Training experience and skills are indispensable
  • Cross-cultural awareness and flexibility
  • Planning and organizational skills
  • Ability to work autonomously and in a multidisciplinary environment
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office tools
  • Languages: fluency in spoken and written English is required;

Knowledge of French is essential

Knowledge of Spanish  is an asset

Knowledge of Arabic is an asset

  • Adherence to MSF principles and to our managerial values: Respect, Transparency, Integrity, Accountability, Trust, Empowerment
  • Adherence the MSF Behavioral Commitments


  • Open-ended contract- full time position based in Brussels with regular field visits (4-6/year) and additionally training/meeting abroad
  • Hospital insurance (DKV)-Pension plan-Canteen-100% reimbursement for public transportation costs
  • Starting date : As soon as possible

Deadline for applications: February 28th, 2020

CV + cover letter to be sent to Caroline Maes, 46, rue de l’Arbre Bénit 1050 Brussels or to stating “Mental Health Advisor” in the title.

Please name your application documents (CV and cover letter) with your LAST NAME.  Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

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