This e-learning course provides the basic skills for designing development and humanitarian programs that support psychosocial well-being and do no harm. It is designed for practitioners who already have a basic understanding of the project cycle, and have worked, or are working, with vulnerable populations in low-resource or crisis environments.

Please note this course does not offer a certificate upon completion.

Course Overview

This e-learning course aims to build the capacity of international development and humanitarian aid practitioners to design projects and programs so they are appropriately responsive to psycho-social/mental health needs and in turn contribute to improving outcomes for project participants. Specifically, the course aims to equip participants with the following knowledge and skills:


Chapter 1: Introduction, Rationale, and Key Concepts

This chapter introduces key concepts in mental health and psychosocial support, and gives an overview of the impacts of stress and adversity on the individual and collective levels, and presents a framework for understanding different levels of intervention in emergency and crisis settings. Finally, we cover basic ethical principles to ensure your program does no harm.

Chapter 2: MHPSS Assessment, Monitoring, and Evaluation

Because psychosocial well-being is highly context-specific, it is important to know how people conceptualize well-being in your project area. In this chapter, you’ll learn how to conduct rigorous assessments of psychosocial needs and existing coping resources, and how to set up monitoring and evaluation systems to measure changes in psychosocial well-being.

Chapter 3: Components of Integrated Psychosocial Interventions in Development and Humanitarian Programming

This chapter guides participants in designing projects that are sensitive to psychosocial needs, and/or that directly work to enhance psychosocial well-being at the individual, family and community levels. This chapter helps you see how your project fits into a broader framework of support, and guides you in knowing how and when to refer people to more specialized services. Finally, it offers guidance for staffing and supervision at the different levels.

Related Publications

Ethiopia’s Worsening Crisis Threatens Regional, Middle East Security

Ethiopia’s Worsening Crisis Threatens Regional, Middle East Security

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

By: Payton Knopf; Jeffrey Feltman

The Gulf Arabs recognize a strategic reality that has eluded the stove-piped U.S. foreign and security policy bureaucracy for too long: The Horn of Africa is an integral part of the Middle East’s security landscape, and increasingly so. No country demonstrates this more clearly than Ethiopia. That country’s escalating internal crises pose an increasingly grave threat not only to the country’s citizens but to international peace and security and to the interests of the United States and its partners in the Middle East, principally Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Type: Analysis and Commentary

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A Year After Soleimani Strike, Iraq Bears the Brunt of U.S.-Iran Tensions

A Year After Soleimani Strike, Iraq Bears the Brunt of U.S.-Iran Tensions

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

By: Dr. Elie Abouaoun; Sarhang Hamasaeed

The January 3, 2020 U.S. drone strike that killed powerful Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani on Iraqi soil marked an escalation in already simmering U.S.-Iran tensions. For Iraqi leaders, the Soleimani strike exacerbated an already challenging balancing act in maintaining Baghdad’s relationships with the United States and Iran, with whom it shares a long border and religious and social ties. During the past tumultuous year for Iraq, U.S. forces and Iranian-allied armed groups engaged in tit-for-tat attacks in Iraq. USIP’s Elie Abouaoun and Sarhang Hamasaeed look at how U.S.-Iran tensions played out last year in Iraq and the region and if the incoming U.S. administration, and its desire to reengage in nuclear talks with Iran, could help allay the impact on Iraq.

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