About us

Who are we and what do we stand for?

Our purpose

The MHPSS Collaborative is a global hub for MHPSS research, innovation, learning and advocacy. 

In the field of mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), we connect key academic and humanitarian actors with local civil society to give children and families in fragile and humanitarian settings the possibility to thrive. 

Our vision is a world that protects and cares for the mental health and wellbeing of children, youth and families. 

Our mission is to build connections, knowledge, and new ways to improve the mental health and wellbeing of children, youth and families in adversity. 

In our way of working, we CONVENE local and global actors and facilitate partnerships to engage a broad range of stakeholders, to INNOVATE solutions addressing emerging and critical challenges to child, youth and family mental health and wellbeing, and we CO-DEVELOP AND SHARE KNOWLEDGE, advancing local-to-global learning and evidence for better practice, to INFLUENCE donors and decision-makers to invest in multisectoral MHPSS as a life-saving measure. 

Our ways of working are always underpinned by these cross-cutting principles: 

  • Adolescent & youth engagement and participation   
  • Whole family approaches 
  • Capacity strengthening 

Our Values

Collective Action​ 






Who we are

The team

Marie Dahl


Marie Dahl, MA is a humanitarian professional with 13 years of experience in the humanitarian sector, with a core focus on children and youth‘s rights to protection, education, mental health and psychosocial wellbeing. Marie’s academic background includes a BA in International Social Work and a MA in International Humanitarian Action. Marie brings field experience from across Asia, the Middle East and Africa on humanitarian response, interagency coordination, capacity building, strategy and advocacy.  

Dan Kirk Biswas

Senior MHPSS Technical Advisor

Dan Kirk-Biswas, MSc, is a public health specialist with focus on mental health and psychosocial support for children and youth. Dan’s experience includes working 10 years in Greece where he co-founded and led a NGO supporting unaccompanied children and refugee teenagers through protection, education, accommodation, and integration programs. Dan has strong experience and interest in bridging research and practice, and has led projects on child protection, education, and mental health and psychosocial wellbeing in collaboration with UC Berkeley, MIT, and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Kate Harris

Programmes Advisor

Kate Harris, MSc is a project management generalist with a bachelor’s degree in law and psychology, and a master’s degree in global studies (migration). Kate has provided project support across the legal, humanitarian, and educational sectors in Australia, Mexico, Sweden, and Denmark, as well as spending some time as a teacher at an International School in Peru and volunteering with refugee programmes. Kate is motivated to ensure programmes are run efficiently so that MHPSS technical staff can dedicate their expertise to promote mental health and wellbeing for children and families. In her current role, Kate oversees The MHPSS Collaborative’s portfolio and budgets, guides the project & operations team, and manages the Danida and UNICEF strategic partnership agreements. 

Louise Juul Hansen

Advocacy and Communications Advisor

Louise Juul Hansen (she/her), MA is an advocacy and communications specialist with a master’s degree in media studies from the University of Copenhagen. Louise has worked with advocacy and communication in the field of MHPSS supporting both communication, advocacy and development of training material, handbooks and guidelines for more than 10 years. She has a special expertise in dissemination and communication of EU funded research projects.  

At the MHPSS, Louise advises on advocacy and communications for The Collaborative and its projects. She leads the communications and dissemination work for the REFUGE-ED project.

Victor Ugo

MHPSS and Youth Engagement Advisor

Dr. Victor Ugo, MD is the founder of Nigeria’s and one of Africa’s biggest youth-led and user-led youth mental health network, Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative (MANI). With an MSc in Global Mental Health from Kings College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Victor has been at the forefront of elevating the global discourse on youth mental health and is passionate about conversations regarding meaningful engagement and participation of children and young people at all levels of programming, research and advocacy in mental health. 

At The MHPSS Collaborative, Victor leads the youth engagement portfolio. 

Karlo Dukic

Programmes Officer

Karlo Dukic, MSc, has more than three years of experience at the intersection of humanitarian and development programming in development consultancy, INGO, and the public and private sectors. Karlo has worked on several assignments in Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Yemen, Nepal, Denmark, and Croatia focusing on livelihoods, food security, nutrition, education, and MHPSS. Karlo holds BA in International Relations and Diplomacy from the Dag Hammarskjöld University College in Zagreb and an MSc in Global Development from the University of Copenhagen. Karlo is currently supporting the development of the child and family global course for community workers in emergency settings, as well asthe  joint Ukraine response in child and family MHPSS for national and international agencies. 

Deepali Pavagadhi

MHPSS Specialist

Deepali Pavagadhi (she/her), MSc is a mental health researcher with extensive experience in qualitative and quantitative research in low- and middle-income contexts, including India, Vietnam, and Nigeria. At the Collaborative, she is currently leading a research study that seeks to understand the well-being of children with disabilities. She is also supporting the development and evaluation of a global child and family MHPSS course for frontline workers in humanitarian settings. She has a M.Sc. in Psychology and Neuroscience of Mental Health from King’s College London and is passionate about strengthening evidence and action on social determinants of mental health.


Catherine Wambui

Programmes Officer

Catherine Wambui (she/her) holds an MSc and a BA in Social Work from University College Absalon, along with an MA in Global Studies and International Development from Roskilde University. She has extensive experience supporting vulnerable populations, working with children, youth, families, and refugees in both public and private sectors. Catherine’s work spans national and international health strategies, emergency responses, and development projects. She is passionate about human rights and community inclusion, particularly for marginalized groups. At The MHPSS Collaboratives, Catherine is the Programmes Officer, overseeing administrative project management, including project development, portfolio management, and budget control in close collaboration with the team.

Omar Al Sayed

Communication & Project Officer

Omar Al Sayed is a humanitarian professional with experience working on the intersection of Arts and Humanities. For over five years from a total of ten years of personal development, Omar has built a solid background in communications. On the flip side, Omar has a robust background in youth outreach and mobilization, engaging in projects spanning topics from child protection to fostering youth participation in local societies, notably in Lebanon, Greece and Denmark.

Our Advisory Group

Ananda Galappatti

Mark Jordans

War Child Holland

Zeinab Hijazi

Senior Mental Health Technical Advisor, and Global Mental Health Lead at UNICEF

Focus area: Mental Health, Psychosocial wellbeing and development of children, adolescents and caregivers.

Dr. Zeinab Hijazi-  is the global technical lead on mental health at UNICEF, based in New York Headquarters. She provides program guidance and technical support across sectors and divisions to enhance UNICEF’s multi-sectoral approach to the provision of mental health & psychosocial support for children and families in humanitarian and development settings, this includes policy, data, research, innovations & advocacy work at UNICEF headquarters, and supporting coordination across sectors of health, education, and child protection to aid UNICEF country teams and partners in designing and implementing locally relevant, comprehensive and sustainable MHPSS strategies that (1) promote safe, nurturing environments for the recovery, psychosocial well-being and protection of children; and (2) engage children, caregivers and families, community systems and service providers at all levels of the social-ecological framework.  Zeinab has 15 years of experience supporting community based mental health and psychosocial programs globally across the Middle East and North Africa, East and South Africa,  West and Central Africa, Europe, South Asia, and Latin America

Anne Filorizzo Pla

Save the Children MHPSS Global lead

Focus area: MHPSS

Graduated in Child Psychology, Anne started her clinical practice in 2005. After her first humanitarian mission in Lebanon, she stepped end of 2010, into her 1st emergency in Haiti, leading mental health and care practices responses integrated into health and nutrition programs. For the past 13 years, she has been advocating for human rights, building capacity on MHPSS and disability inclusion, contributing to the development of inter-agency guidance and promoting strategical cross-sectoral mainstreaming of MHPSS.

Olivia Biermann

Karolinska Institutet

Our partnerships

We are hosted and funded by

The MHPSS Collaborative is hosted by Save the Children, sharing a location in its offices in Copenhagen, Denmark. We are grateful to Danida for providing the seed funding for our core activities and existence. Danida is Denmark’s development cooperation, an area of activity under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.

We are proud to work with

Working in partnership is one of our core values. We are proud to have current and past partnerships with these outstanding entities, working together to solve critical issues for child and family mental health and psychosocial wellbeing.