Addressing Mental Health in South Sudan


Everyone deserves the chance to receive the care and support they need to improve their mental health and wellbeing.

The scars of conflict

Inter-communal violence and ongoing conflict cause mass displacement and loss of lives and livelihoods in South Sudan. Widespread sexual and gender-based violence has become characteristic of the conflict and women and girls are used as spoils of war. Systemic impunity allows perpetrators to evade justice leaving their victims to bear the burden of stigma, trauma and sexually transmitted diseases.

The impact of violence and the loss of social cohesion is coupled with humanitarian crises. Severe, wide-spread flooding forces up to one million people to leave their homes every year, damaging livelihoods and incomes. More than seven million people (over 60 percent of the population) have food insecurity and more than 70 percent are in need of humanitarian assistance.

Integrating mental health services

To address the mental health and psychosocial consequences of violence, poverty and insecurity, HealthNet TPO is expanding our mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) services to reach more vulnerable individuals and communities in Bor and Malakar in South Sudan.

We strive to improve access to support and specialist treatment for people living with a mental illness by integrated MHPSS services into health centres and services for women’s protection and support for sexual and gender-based violence. We will be:

  • Equipping health facilities with the tools and medical supplies to provide clinical treatment for mental health illness  
  • Training doctors, nurses, midwives and clinical staff on psychosocial first aid and referral pathways  
  • Creating safe spaces for women and girls within hospitals and health centres

At the community level, psychosocial focal persons (PFPs) are selected, trained and supported to identify mental health concerns and provide psychosocial first aid and counselling to individuals in their communities, with particular care for women and girl survivors of SGBV. They raise awareness for good mental health, self-care, MHPSS services, legal protection and SGBV services.

The project is an extension of our current MHPSS activities under the Women, Peace and Security Programme that is implemented in five states (Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria, Western Equatoria, Lakes and Unity) to two new locations (Bor and Malakar).

With support from