Medical Health Referent

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international humanitarian aid organization that provides assistance in more than 70 countries to populations in distress, to victims of natural or manmade disasters and to victims of armed conflicts, without discrimination and irrespective of origin, religion, creed or political affiliation.

Mental Health Referent (m/f/x) – Brussels – MSF Belgium


Within MSF the Operational Center Brussels (OCB), the Medical Department provides strategic direction and technical leadership, committing to keeping up to date on innovations in health care. We share the responsibility of the operational choices and the responsiveness, and we are involved in the support of our project teams co-developing context-adapted medical-operational strategies and defining levels of care. The department also does normative work (e.g., developing guidelines, tools), supporting their translation (e.g., trainings, quality improvement, information knowledge management) and enabling operational research and innovative ideas.

Composed of multiple specialists based across a network of units across the world (Belgium, Brazil, Ivory Coast, Lebanon, Luxembourg, South Africa), we work in close collaboration with operations, other OCB departments and MSF movement. We also provide technical support to the newest operational entity in MSF, West Africa and Central Africa (WACA).

Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) interventions are a key part of MSF’s integrated responses to humanitarian crises. In 2022 MSF OCB had MHPSS interventions as priority objectives in 34 projects across 22 countries. There are however more locations that integrate MHPSS activities in other activities in OCB and WACA.

As Mental Health referent, you support the quality improvement of MSF-OCB projects by:

  • Providing technical and programmatic support throughout the whole project cycle (situation analysis, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, supporting the capture of lessons learned) when dealing with mental health components or psychosocial-related issues
  • Further developing the MSF-OCB MHPSS Strategy
  • Helping to improve the medical services and the technical competences of teams in terms of mental health and psychosocial support

Reporting to the Medical Technical Manager based in Brussels, you achieve this by working within the MSF OCB Medical Department in close collaboration with headquarters MHPSS colleagues, and all other stakeholders.


  1. Provide quality and timely support to colleagues, project and country staff concerning the implementation of MHPSS services throughout the entire project cycle, ensuring quality and continuity of care and supporting that activities are based on the best available evidence

Technical focus:

  • Respond to technical queries, discuss cases, provide feedback on context adaptation of protocols and other tools to support quality, continuity of care including the use of Telemedicine to ensure that MH activities are based on best available evidenceVisit projects to support implementation of quality mental health interventions (30%)
  • Assure the technical briefing & debriefing of MHPSS professionals, medical and project coordinators as well as the respective headquarter counterparts
  • Contribute to the staff development by:
    • Facilitating access to remote learning, communities of practice and through the provision of training and coaching. This includes one-on-one sessions, joint meetings, and the co-facilitation of internal trainings such as MH training, Survivors of Violence (including sexual and gender-based violence), Health Promotion
    • Supporting effective information knowledge management
    • Identifying and promotion of relevant external resources and training
  • Support innovation and participate in the development of relevant operational research following the operational research frame and Support presentation and publication of operational research results

Strategic and programmatic focus:

  • Collaborate with the medical and operational responsible at project, country headquarters and medical department referents to provide strategic direction to the projects. Participate in strategic meetings e.g., annual review of operations (ARO)
  • Provide expert advice regarding MHPSS components of the program: assessment, design, implementation, monitoring of MHPSS services in the project. This includes objectives, population target, and relevant activities
  • Contribute to the definition of monitoring indicators of MHPSS activities
  • Support the assessment of human resources needs for mental health activities, including the feasibility and relevance for task shifting
  • Support advocacy strategies at project, country and international levels through data analysis, the identification of problems or needs and technical advice in terms of proposed solution
  • Participate to the active monitoring of mental health projects and their activities through visits, debriefings, report-reading, etc., and regulary share this analysis with the relevant stakeholders

2. In cooperation with MHPSS colleagues, co-lead the development and implementation of mental health policy and strategy in MSF-OCB operations

  • Identify and evaluate new developments (evidence, approaches, techniques and tools), to ensure:
    • MHPSS policy and strategy are in line with new developments in the mental health/psycho-social/psychiatry field
    • MHPSS activities are adapted to incorporate best-practice
    • The development/revision of essential documents (policies, guidelines, protocols, tools, and other strategic papers) of other disciplines, integrate relevant MHPSS components
  • Participate in interdisciplinary working groups (e.g., migration circle, violence, palliative care) when required/relevant
  • Identify major gaps or concerns in mental heath care provision at project level and recommend strategies to address these at global level
  • Contribute to the writing of the mental health activities chapter in the annual medical report and participate, promote organisational learning through project experiences

3. Ensure good collaboration and representation within and outside MSF

  • Collaborate closely with the other MHPSS colleagues in OCB and across MSF. Represent OCB in the MH Intersectional Working group and participate actively in the development and the implementation of the action plan
  • Collaborate with other referents in the medical department and operations department on subjects of common interest: health promotion, anthropologists, intercultural mediators, sexual and reproductive health, paediatrics, nutrition, non-communicable disease, researchers, health information system, etc. Participate to in the medical meetings, the coordination week and other MSF OCB gathering or events
  • Support the communication and analysis departments as required
  • Collaborate and coordinate regularly with the human resources department in the management of MHPSS staff, including recruitment, competences assessment, matching and evaluation
  • Contribute to the building of a relevant network of experts in mental health issues and in humanitarian aid around mental health to foster exchange, influence, and partnership possibilities
  • Participate in workshops, international expert groups organized by WHO, academic institutions or other validated initiatives, when relevant


Education & Experience

  • Master’s degree in clinical psychology
  • Post-graduate trainings in psychotherapeutic techniques are an important asset.
  • At least 5 years in clinical practice under regular clinical supervision
  • 2 years’ operational experience in MSF projects are required
  • Relevant and solid training experience (design and implementation)


  • Project management knowledge and experiences
  • Knowledge in mental health science including critical appraisal, peer review and publication
  • Understanding of medical humanitarian work (medical-technical and political dimensions)
  • Critical scientific reading and writing skills
  • Strong analytical and synthetic skills
  • Capacity to work within agreed timeline and ability to prioritize activities/tasks
  • Good communication skills: active listener, clear and effective communication, sense of diplomacy and pedagogy
  • Ability to establish and retain positive working relationships (internally and externally)
  • Good team player with flexibility, creativity, and management skills
  • Strong cross-cultural awareness and adaptability


  • Excellent written and spoken communication in English and French


  • Expected starting date: As soon as possible
  • Location*: Brussels (Belgium)
  • Mobility: willing to travel regularly (30% of working time) to MSF project locations
  • Contract type: open-ended contract – Full-time
  • Salary according to MSF-OCB HQ grid
  • Meal Vouchers – Hospital Insurance (DKV) – Pension Plan – 100% reimbursement for public transportation costs
  • Adhere to the MSF principles and to our managerial values: Respect, Transparency, Integrity, Accountability, Trust, and Empowerment
  • Adhere to the MSF Behavioral Commitments

*Other location/s where there is an MSF entity could be exceptionally discussed. The final outcome depends on local legal limitations (residency, work permit, etc.) and on agreement with the hosting MSF entity/office of the/se location/s. The local contract and standard salary grid will then apply.

Deadline for applications: 6 November 2023

How to apply

Please, send your CV and cover letter to to and mention “Mental Health Referent” in the subject of your email.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Position only open to candidates with previous experience with MSF (“Médecins Sans Frontières”)! No MSF experience? Check out all our job offers at the office:

MSF values diversity and is committed to create an inclusive working environment. We welcome applications from all qualified candidates regardless of disability, gender identity, marital or civil partnership status, race, color or ethnic and national origins, religion or belief, or sexual orientation.

The protection of your personal data is important to MSF. By submitting your application, you consent to MSF using your personal data. For more information, consult our privacy notice to job applicants.

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