Promoting Standards For Mental Health And Psychosocial Support Services In Kurdistan

MHPSS Standard of Care Tailored for the Kurdistan Region of Iraq

To promote improved services to some of the most vulnerable and violence-affected people in the world, SEED Foundation worked with a broad range of stakeholder to developis proud to launch a Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Standard of Care Model, tailor made for the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). 

SEED is dedicated to improving the conditions and lives of survivors of violence and those at risk in Kurdistan, Iraqthe KRI. In addition to providing direct mental health services, SEED also works to promote sustainable and transformative policy, institutional, and other regulatory and practice changes that will strengthen protections and services for vulnerable people groups and individuals. In line with this objective, SEED has been working on developing a MHPSS Standard of Care Model for KRI since 2018, with review and consultations from a wide range of stakeholders,  with the aim that it can be used by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and as a standard applicable to all MHPSS actors in order to achieve greater coordination, quality, and accountability in services. 

It is critical that MHPSS actors working throughout the KRI have a common Standard of Care. The objective of the Standard of Care model is to provide a framework for all MHPSS actors in the KRI to work with and to increase clarity about the roles and services within the MHPSS sector so service providers are equipped to provide quality and holistic mental health services to people with mental health needs. This is especially important as the MHPSS response in the KRI transitions from emergency response to a more sustainable post-conflict response. The Standard of Care has been tailored for this context and designed to contribute to the changing needs of a post-conflict society. It is SEED’s hope that having a MHPSS Standard of Care model endorsed and utilized by the KRG and MHPSS actors in the KRI, will ensure consistency across services, unify the response and promote a common, contextualized understanding of quality MHPSS services among service providers. Moreover, this will contribute to the KRI transitioning to a more sustainable mental health strategy and response. 

Although the model is based on international standards, it has been adapted to the context of the KRI to ensure the highest level of applicability and relevance. Developing the Standard of Care has been a highly collaborative process with a broad range of I/NGOs, UN agencies, diplomatic consulates, working groups, and the KRG as well as other individuals providing feedback, review, and technical input. As a result it has received broad buy-in and has been voluntarily adopted by the KRI’s MHPSS Working Group, which coordinates MHPSS services in the region. The wide adoption and support of the Standard of Care by a variety of actors across the KRI will support the strategic aim to convert short-term emergency interest in MHPSS into a momentum for sustainable, long-term mental health and psychosocial care system development in the KRI. 

SEED is grateful for all individuals, organizations and agencies who contributed to the MHPSS Standard of Care development. SEED would also like to thank the KRG for their support and recognize the Ministry of Health, and Directorate of Health Dohuk, for their contributions. The development of this document would not have been possible without the support of the United States Government.