Proper funding and effective implementation of MHPSS

The mental impact of living through armed conflict on children is immense. Exposure to conflict, violence and insecurity can have major psychological effects on children and the distress children face can last well beyond the end of the conflict unless appropriate support is provided. Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) is a life-saving, critical response – not a luxury. The outcomes for children will not be the same if we don’t include MHPSS elements to recovery. MHPSS interventions have to be core and center, multi-sectoral and integrated for there to be any benefit for children – and families. International guidelines – the Inter-Agency Standing Committee guidelines for MHPSS in emergencies – specify the need for a multi-layered system of support that is delivered at different levels of social and health systems. 

In recent years, interest has grown among donor governments and NGOs to find ways to step up MHPSS responses for children affected by conflict.The field has come a long way in terms of evidence building, innovation, reach, visibility – but we are still not seeing the impacts we need to see for the future of children and families, because of lack of ground level capacity and short-term funding that does not provide the depth and duration of programming to see real impacts.

In this panel discussion, leading mental health experts will take the stage together with celebrity mental health campaigners to set out the powerful case for mental health and psychosocial support for children harmed in war, and what governments can do to promote the right to recovery. Children will comment on how Save the Children MHPSS programming has helped them to recover from their experiences in growing up in conflict affected countries.