MSF psychologist Danai Papadopouloy, with cultural mediator Marjan Dana Abidian, in session with a minor from Afghanistan during a mental health consultation outside Moria camp on Lesbos island, Greece. Among those referred to our specialised mental health services, for children between the ages of 1-18, our patients present with changes in behaviour such as aggressiveness or withdrawal, stopping eating, nightmares, bed-wetting, panic and anxiety, developmental regression, as well as self-harm, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. © Anna Pantelia/MSF


As a psychiatrist working with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), your primary responsibility is to propose, implement and enhance treatment plans for patients suffering from mental health disorders, employing strategies and tools tailored to their specific context and culture. A significant aspect of your role involves coordinating various activities and providing guidance and supervision to locally recruited colleagues engaged in mental health and psychosocial support initiatives.


As a psychiatrist, you will offer support to individuals grappling with post-traumatic stress resulting from conflict or disasters, survivors of sexual violence, as well as those undergoing treatment for HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis. Your daily routine will typically include conducting individual clinical consultations and organizing therapeutic or psycho-educational group activities.

While your primary focus is clinical in nature, it is crucial to emphasize your pivotal role in recruiting, training and overseeing locally employed mental health professionals. Your ability to adapt tools and interventions to align with local cultural nuances and evolving circumstances remains paramount.


  • Certified psychiatrist with an active license
  • Minimum two years clinical experience (post-residency) in a multi-disciplinary setting treating patients with psychotherapeutic or counselling methods
  • At least six months of clinical experience within the last two years
  • Professional experience in mental health issues associated with at least TWO of the following areas:
    • HIV/AIDS
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder
    • Sexual violence
    • Trauma
    • Tuberculosis
  • Experience in managing staff in a multicultural team (supervision and training)
  • Relevant travel or work experience in contexts similar to where MSF works (armed conflicts, disasters, public health emergencies or situations of healthcare exclusion)
  • Commitment to work in MSF international programs for a minimum of six to 12 months


  • French or Arabic language (B2 or above)
  • Experience working with migrants, internally displaced people or refugees
  • Experience with short-term therapy
  • Experience across the full scope of mental health care provision for adults, adolescents and children
  • Experience with individual, family and group counselling
  • Experience in community-based psycho-social or trauma-focused programs
  • Experience in adapting recognized and accepted therapeutic techniques in consideration of local cultural contexts
  • Experience with adherence counselling or patient education for chronic diseases

MSF Core Competencies

  • Behaviour flexibility: Level 2
    • Adapts behaviour to the needs of the situation
  • Teamwork and cooperation: Level 2
    • Shares information and coordinates with team and others
  • Result and quality orientation: Level 2
    • Works towards objectives, preserving established standards
  • Commitment to MSF principles: Level 1
    • Demonstrates knowledge of and accepts MSF’s principles
  • People management: Level 2
    • Gives feedback and sets limits
  • Cross-cultural awareness: Level 3
    • Demonstrates an integrating attitude
  • Stress management: Level 2
    • Manages own stress
  • Understanding of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI): Level 1
    • Familiarity with EDI concepts and their application in a humanitarian context

Familiarity with EDI concepts and their application in a humanitarian context

To find out more about MSF core competencies, please look here.

You can find a comprehensive view of MSF career paths here.

Before you apply

As you consider applying to undertake an MSF assignment, it is essential that you have a well-informed and realistic personal reflection. Assignments often mean long hours with a heavy workload, basic living conditions, and working and living in often chaotic and volatile environments.

Security and Safety

Because Doctors Without Borders’ purpose is to bring medical assistance to people in distress, the work may occur in settings of active conflict, or in post-conflict environments, in which there are inherent risks, potential danger and ongoing threats to safety and security. MSF acknowledges that it is impossible to exclude all risks, but it does its utmost as an organization to mitigate and manage these risks through strict and comprehensive security protocols.

Please watch this video for information on how MSF manages security.

International staff will be fully informed of the risk associated with a potential assignment before accepting a particular posting. Working for MSF is a deeply personal choice; individuals must determine for themselves the level of risk and the circumstances in which they feel comfortable, based on a full and transparent understanding of the possibilities they may face. Once in the assignment, all MSF staff must strictly observe security rules and regulations; failure to do so may result in dismissal.

Terms of Employment

MSF staff are employees with a salary and benefits. See more information on the terms of employment.

MSF favours at least 2 years of active commitment during which time international staff complete 2 to 4 assignments. There are many possibilities for professional growth within the organization, into the medical, non-medical and coordination streams. For more information on learning and development as well as career opportunities with MSF, see our FAQ.

To learn more about how MSF supports IMGs with EPIC service, free of cost, click here.

Final Thoughts

As you consider applying to undertake an MSF assignment, is it essential that you have a well-informed and realistic personal reflection. Assignments often mean long hours with a heavy workload, basic living conditions, and working and living in often chaotic and volatile environments.

Despite such challenges, thousands of people have worked with MSF over the years and found their experiences in the field to be deeply rewarding, even life-changing. More than anything else, being an MSF international worker means acting in solidarity with people facing unimaginable medical challenges. Your presence alongside people in times of need sends a profoundly meaningful and human message: “You are not forgotten.

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