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This webinar is part of an ongoing series organised by the MHPSS and Peacebuilding Working Group of the IASC MHPSS Reference Group to share examples of promising approaches for linking the two fields.

In communities affected by conflict and crisis, several interventions are needed for recovery, rebuilding social structures and restoring social fabrics. Mental health and psychosocial support can serve as a key driver of peacebuilding efforts, sustainable livelihoods, social cohesion and community stabilisation through enhancement of the overall well-being of individuals and communities.

In Iraq – the geographic focus of this webinar – MHPSS, livelihoods, social cohesion and peacebuilding needs are significant. In light of this, IOM Iraq has developed an approach that integrates MHPSS and livelihood support programming to strengthen emotional well-being, increase the success of livelihood opportunities, and bolster social cohesion and peacebuilding within communities of displacement and return.

To address consistent MHPSS, livelihoods and social cohesion needs, IOM established integrated MHPSS and livelihood support projects that consider the affected population’s economic, mental, emotional, psychosocial and social cohesion needs. This integrated approach inclusively responds to MHPSS, livelihoods and peacebuilding needs while offering a space to strengthen community support and a sense of belonging. For example, integrated MHPSS for people engaged in work opportunities has enabled many of them to successfully carry out daily tasks, address work-related challenges and connect with peers and mentors from the community, building a robust support network within their community.

IOM Iraq launched its MHPSS and Livelihood Integration (MLI) programming in late-2020 and now implements it in various locations, including in Hawija, Al-Zab, Mosul City, Tel Afar, Al-Qurna in northern Basra and at the Hassan Sham U3 Camp in Ninewa.

This webinar outlines IOM Iraq’s MHPSS and Livelihood Integration approach and presents the latest integrated programming results. The discussion will explore how integrated programming can support social cohesion and peacebuilding efforts in areas of return and displacement and we will consider the applicability of the IOM approach in other contexts as well as potential advantages and challenges for the model.