Dr Yulianto Santoso Kurniawan (at front) was facilitating the MSF COVID-19 training for the adolescents of Kalibata Sub-district, Kalibata Village in South Jakarta. © MSF/Sania Elizabeth

Psychologist and Mental Health Specialist

From providing psychological first aid to survivors of natural disasters to counselling HIV patients, our MHOs play a vital role in our projects. Trauma is often the most painful aspect of surviving a conflict or disaster, or living with a disease, and mental healthcare is vital for recovery.

Responsibilities

As a mental health specialist with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), you will support people suffering from post-traumatic stress related to a conflict situation or disaster, survivors of sexual violence, or people being treated for HIV/AIDS and/or tuberculosis. Your work will be mostly clinical. You will also have to recruit, train and supervise locally hired mental health professionals, who will then ensure the continuity of care. You will have to adapt tools to local cultural needs and contexts as well as to changing circumstances.

As a mental health specialist, you will be responsible for supporting the program and the team by suggesting improvements in line with MSF’s objectives and strategies, providing individual clinical consultations, organizing psycho-pedagogical activities and organizing training sessions for the team.

Requirements

  • Full and current registration
  • Be a certified clinical psychologist or psychiatrist, or a certified clinical social worker. Social workers must have a master’s degree in social work with clinical specialization
  • Minimum two years of relevant post-qualification work experience
  • 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 individual and group counselling
  • Experience in managing staff in a multicultural team (supervision and training)
  • Excellent command of English, as well as French (level B2) or another language (Arabic, Spanish). Refer to this evaluation grid
  • Relevant travel or work experience in contexts similar to where MSF works (armed conflicts, disasters, public health emergencies or situations of healthcare exclusion)
  • Available to work six to 12 months

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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