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By applying a psychosocial approach CARE Österreich wants to ensure that humanitarian and development actions embody a holistic understanding of wellbeing of individuals and communities so that programme’s appropriateness, impact and sustainability will increase. Psychologically safe persons are more likely to be able to connect to other people, develop joint solutions to problems and work for the common good and sustainable development.

Women and girls, due to centuries of discrimination, are more likely to suffer from reduced psychosocial wellbeing, which increases their vulnerability to poverty. Many girls and women are hindered by gender stereotypes that prescribe that women have to submit themselves to men and by reduced self esteem and confidence to participate in development programmes or engage in social change and politics.

Additionally gender based violence mainly affects women and girls. Gender based violence, especially sexual violence, erodes women’s and girls‘ self esteem and is most destructive for women’s and girls‘ health and wellbeing. Psychosocial interventions that strengthen women’s and girls‘ resilience and prevent and address GBV are a fundamental part of CARE Österreich’s women’s empowerment programming.

The CARE Österreich Psychosocial Guidelines are outlining the strong interrelation of women’s empowerment and psychosocial wellbeing. They give an overview of the scope of psychosocial programming, it’s theoretical underpinnings and implications for several thematic areas.

Inter Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Guidelines on Mental Health and Pschosocial Support in Emergency Settings

Inter Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency settings: Checklist for Field Use

Multi-Agency Guidance Note for helpers (German Version): Mental Health and Psychosocial Support for Refugees, Asylum-seekers and Migrants on the move in Europe

CARE Österreich Learning Conference on Psychological Interventions for women’s psychosocial well-being in conflict affect countries (Burundi, Nepal, Uganda)

„To be well at heart“ in Burundi, Nepal and Uganda – is a unique study. Women themselves develop and describe their own definitions of psychosocial well-being that go beyond the suffering and trauma of conflict to incorporate their aspirations and positive dreams. 


The extensive analysis, guided by the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunters College City University of New York and CARE Österreich with financial support of the Austrian Development Cooperation, can serve as a model for other studies and other contexts.

Based on the cross country research “To be well at heart” a generic methodology to monitor and evaluate “psychosocial wellbeing” has been developed – the methodology is called SEE_PET as it is adapted from the “Stepwise Ethnographic Exploration” and the “Participatory Evaluation Technique”.

„The Tiger is our Guest“: Helping Children to grow up in war and afterwards. A review on CARE Austria’s psychosocial programming for children in Kosovo and North Caucasus.


IASC Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings

In December 2007 the IASC Working Group established the IASC Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings. This reference group is tasked to follow up on the implementation of the Guidelines elaborated by the 2005-2007 IASC Task Force on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings.

IASC – Psychosocial Support

Mental Health and Psychosocial Network

Initiative of the MHPSS Network focussed on serving the wide range of people working in the field of mental health and psychosocial support in emergencies and other situations of extreme stress across the world.

Psychosocial Working Group (PWG)

The PWG was established in 2000 with the support of grants from the Andrew Mellon Foundation as a collaboration between academic institutions and humanitarian agencies committed to the development of knowledge and best practice in the field of psychosocial interventions in complex emergencies.

WHO – Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergencies

The target group for WHO work on mental health and psychosocial support in emergencies is any population exposed to extreme stressors, such as refugees, internally displaced persons, disaster survivors and terrorism-, war- or genocide-exposed populations. The Department’s work on mental health in emergencies focuses mostly on resource-poor countries, where most populations exposed to natural disasters and war live.