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About us

Read more about who we are and what we stand for

Our purpose

What We Stand For

The MHPSS Collaborative is a global platform for 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 circumstances the possibility to thrive.

The MHPSS Collaborative was born out of a response to a growing body of research on the impacts of Children’s exposure globally to unprecedented rates of violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect, particularly those in crisis, migration and displacement situations. Exposure to critical incidents and long-term adversity, and the failure of adequate child protection and nurturance, leads to devastating impacts on children’s physical and mental development, their potential to actively engage in the building of inclusive, peaceful societies, and the socio-economic development and stability of communities as a whole.

Investing in resilience-building and Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) for children, youth and families in fragile and humanitarian contexts is a critical precondition for sustainable development that leaves no one behind.

The MHPSS Collaborative works across the sector to:

  1. Convene and facilitate partnerships to engage a broad range of stakeholders
  2. Develop and share knowledge, and advance local-to-global research
  3. Advocate toward donors and decision-makers for MHPSS as a life-saving measure

We focus on emerging challenges that require immediate attention for children and families in adversity:

  • Education in emergencies and the importance of integrating MHPSS
  • Migration and displacement: cross border care for children and families on the move
  • Climate change and the cycle of impact on children’s mental health and psychosocial wellbeing
  • Suicide prevention in humanitarian settings

Our Values

The voices of children and families matter

Meaningful partnerships are essential

Local and global knowledge and experience must come together

Who we are

The team

Leslie Snider, MD, MPH

Director

Leslie is a psychiatrist and public health professional with over 20 years’ experience in MHPSS programmes and research in diverse global settings. She began as a public mental health clinician while directing International Mental Health and Medical Anthropology Studies for ten years at Tulane Public Health School. She has worked with UN agencies, governments and NGOs in quality MHPSS care for children and families affected by disasters, conflict, HIV/AIDS, poverty and exploitation, and has developed several widely used international resources for MHPSS in emergencies. She most enjoyed writing a small children’s book for children and caregivers affected by the Ebola crisis.

Carmen Valle, Ph.d

Senior MHPSS Advisor, Lead on Advocacy and Migration & Displacement

Dr. Carmen Valle-Trabadelo is a psychologist with 15 years’ experience in mental health. Carmen worked 9 years in academia and research, and from 2009 combined it with clinical work and services management. In 2011, after several collaborations with universities in LMIC countries, she transitioned to development and humanitarian work. Since then, she has worked for NGOs and UN agencies providing technical support and advice in 15 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America, with a strong focus on Human Rights, Systems Strengthening, and Psychological Interventions.

Ashley Nemiro, LMFT, Ph.D

MHPSS Technical Advisor

Dr. Ashley Nemiro has worked as a global mental health professional in humanitarian settings since 2011 following a career as a licensed family therapist and refugee resettlement program coordinator. She received her doctorate from North Carolina State University where she spent three years travelling to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to conduct her dissertation research and run a non-profit alongside Congolese women. Ashley focuses on integrating mental health care into health, education and protection services, developing supervision systems and training and supporting staff on the use of psychological interventions for children and adults across Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

Jura Augustinavicius, Ph.D

Research Advisor, Lead on Climate Change and Youth Engagement

Dr. Jura Augustinavicius is a global mental health researcher and an Assistant Scientist in the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where she teaches courses on Climate Change and Mental Health. She completed a doctorate and postdoctoral fellowship in Public Mental Health with special training in global mental health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her current work focuses on climate change and mental health,  youth engagement, and MHPSS in humanitarian settings.

Mary Jo Baca, MPH, MSW

MHPSS Technical Advisor, Lead on Education in Emergencies

Mary Jo is a Licensed Independent Social Worker (LISW) and specializes in mental health and psychosocial care as well as child and youth protection. Mary Jo gained several years of diverse international experience with NGOs and UN agencies developing a wide range of sustainable programming with the aim to empower the protection and wellbeing of refugees and other vulnerable populations. She previously served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Madagascar, worked in several child-focused residential centers, practiced as a clinical social worker serving children, youth, and families, and provided clinical services at the Veterans Administration Hospital in the United States. She worked for several years in the Middle East supporting development and emergency response programs, including assisting and leading the establishment of protection and MHPSS programming in Za’tari and Azraq refugee camps in Jordan.

Ellen R. Pucke, MSW

Operations Officer

Ellen Pucke is a social worker with a background in refugee mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), community organizing, legal services in the United States and Hong Kong, and person-centered service design in Denmark. Her role with the MHPSS Collaborative is to oversee our operations and communications.

Andreas H. Jespersen, MS

Project Assistant

Andreas Jespersen holds a bachelor’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies, and a master’s degree in Global Refugee Studies. Andreas has focused on the implications of refugees attempting migration and attempting return to one’s country of origin, in terms of MHPSS and social stigmatization. He has worked on various international projects prior to joining the MHPSS Collaborative in Zimbabwe and Liberia. Currently he supports the Collaborative’s MHPSS and climate change projects, youth engagement initiatives, and maintaining the Collaborative’s portfolio overview.

Kate Harris, MS

Project Assistant

Kate holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Masters Degree in Global Studies, focusing on asylum seeker rights and experiences. She has worked in a variety of project support and management roles in the NGO and education sector in Australia, Mexico and Sweden. Her current role provides support to the Collaborative’s MHPSS and Education in Emergencies team.


Our steering committee

Alison Schafer
World Health Organization

Michael Ungar
Resilience Research Centre

Ananda Galappatti
MHPSS.net

Brighton Gwezera
REPSSI

Peter Ventevogel
UNHCR

Mark Jordans
War Child Holland; Kings College London

Nana Wiedemann
IFRC Reference Centre for Psychosocial Support

Zeinab Hijazi
UNICEF

Roger Hearn
Save the Children Denmark

Lorraine Sherr
Royal Free and University College Medical School, London; 
and Editor, Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies

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.

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