24 August 2021

New online course: Chronically Ill in an Emergency - Why Mental Health Matters

New course

The University of Copenhagen have launched a new online course about integrating mental health and psychosocial support for noncommunicable diseases in humanitarian settings. The course is free of charge and everyone interested can join.

Integrating MHPSS for NCDs in Humanitarian Response

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) – a group of conditions that include cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases and mental ill-health– cause nearly 41 million deaths each year, representing almost 72 percent of all deaths globally. Today, NCDs are not only a problem of high-income countries as more than three-quarters of global NCD deaths occur in low-and middle-income countries. These countries are at the same time those hosting the majority of humanitarian settings.

Attention to NCDs focused initially on four major disease categories (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease and cancer) and four groups of associated risk factors (unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, tobacco use, and harmful use of alcohol). Recently, mental ill-health has been considered as the fifth NCD and environmental determinant as the fifth risk factor for NCDs – known as ‘5-by-5’ conditions.

Mental ill-health and other NCDs are powerfully inter-connected, highly comorbid, and frequently co-occur due to potential bidirectional relationships. A response that addresses both mental ill-health and other NCDs might therefore be useful, both to be more effective, and to require fewer resources. There is, however, a lack of widely accepted guidelines that take this into account, and this course is intended to draw attention to that issue.

The course has a threefold aim: i) to explore evidence of interaction between mental ill-health and other NCDs and the role of psychosocial support in humanitarian response; ii) to explore what is being done and where; what level the determinants of health are being addressed at and the integration of mental health and psychosocial support or MHPSS and NCD prevention and care in humanitarian response; and iii) to identify and explore challenges, opportunities and lessons learned for integrating MHPSS and NCD prevention and care in humanitarian response.

The MOOC will be led by a course leader from the University of Copenhagen in close collaboration with academic teachers, the Danish Red Cross and IFRC Reference Centre for Psychosocial Support, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Enroll in the course for free now.