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Table of Contents
Year : 2023  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1-2

From the Editors: Celebrating 20 Years of Bridging Research and Practice

1 Editor in Chief, Intervention, Diemen, The Netherlands
2 Deputy Editor, Intervention, Diemen, The Netherlands

Date of Submission01-Apr-2023
Date of Acceptance01-Apr-2023
Date of Web Publication27-Apr-2023

Correspondence Address:
MSc Rina Ghafoerkhan
Editor in Chief, Intervention, Nienoord 5-13, 1112XE Diemen
The Netherlands
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/intv.intv_12_23

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How to cite this article:
Ghafoerkhan R, Ager W. From the Editors: Celebrating 20 Years of Bridging Research and Practice. Intervention 2023;21:1-2

How to cite this URL:
Ghafoerkhan R, Ager W. From the Editors: Celebrating 20 Years of Bridging Research and Practice. Intervention [serial online] 2023 [cited 2023 Jun 8];21:1-2. Available from: http://www.interventionjournal.org//text.asp?2023/21/1/1/375053

Welcome to the first issue of Intervention in 2023. This issue marks two noteworthy occasions.

First, in January we celebrated the 20-year anniversary of Intervention journal. We hosted an online gathering where practitioners, policy makers and researchers reflected on their past publications in Intervention. We also looked back on the early days of Intervention and reflected how the field of MHPSS has evolved over the last two decades. Intervention has played a central role in this by encouraging and hosting key discussions bringing our field forward. We aspire to continue this role for the decades to come and offer a platform for inclusive exchange of research and field experience.

Second, this issue marks the transition of editors in chief, as we said goodbye to Wendy Ager and welcomed Rina Ghafoerkhan as the new editor in chief in January. Rina is a psychologist and researcher in MHPSS, specialized in (conflict-related) sexual violence and trafficking. Wendy has led Intervention for the last 4 years. During that time, we published eight issues, including a special issue on the mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and special sections on problem management plus, suicide prevention and response, and MHPSS and the climate crisis. These particular issues were followed by webinars featuring some of the published authors. The dialogues between authors were highlights of these webinars, reflecting the practical exchange that has been encouraged by Intervention from the start. Our current issue represents the editorial work by both Wendy and Rina.

Coming to her new role as editor in chief of Intervention journal and having been part of the MHPSS field for over a decade, Rina would like to highlight the apologies made by the American Psychological Association to people of colour a little while back (APA, 2021). By this apology, the APA acknowledges the ways in which psychology as a clinical practice and scientific field has contributed to systemic inequities and racial discrimination. Discussing the implications of these apologies is beyond the scope of this editorial. For now however, as debates on decolonization evolve and widen, the question we want to pose here is: What does this mean for the MHPSS field? How do shared colonial histories influence us, MHPSS professionals globally, in our thinking and approaches? Intervention warmly invites such debates and reflections to make our field more equitable, sustainable and ultimately improve the support offered to affected people.

Turning to this first issue of the year, we have three field reports, four articles, four personal reflections and a book review.

Our first field report by Mattern et al. (pp. 3–8) discusses lessons learned from applying a monitoring tool developed by Humanity and Inclusion called the score of perceived outcomes (Sco-PeO). The authors outlined and compared the use of the tool in the context of Lebanon, Madagascar, Sierra Leone and Togo. Overall, they found that using the adult version of ScoPeO tool was feasible with training and the use of various formats, whereas the version for children war ranted further attention.

The second field report by Younis et al. (pp. 9–13) offers us an insight into the prevalence of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms among university students in Mosul (N = 305), a population that has suffered under the violence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) for years. Interestingly, their findings indicate that 12% of the students meet the threshold criteria for PTSD symptoms. This is a finding that encourages further research on the mental health needs of this conflict-affected population.

Our final field report by Agaba et al. (pp. 14–19) brings forward a topic that is unfortunately familiar to us all: the challenges faced and adaptations made in our work during the COVID-19 pandemic. In their report, they share with us their lessons learned while trying to find measures to support staff wellbeing, communicate with donors on protective measures and adapt programmes to be safer and more accessible for beneficiaries in Uganda.

Our first article by Hillel (pp. 20–29) takes an innovative approach by taking a closer look at inequalities in funding of local and national agencies that provide MHPSS services. The author reveals a limited localisation of MHPSS services in less economically developed countries, and a limited focus on community capacity building through associated humanitarian sectors. Through the lens of decolonisation, the author recommends that humanitarians should advocate for increased localisation and culturally competent practices in the MHPSS space.

Our second article by Forsberg et al. (pp. 30–46) takes our attention to Palestinian students living in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The authors tested the Student Learning in Emergencies Checklist (SLEC) for its psychometric properties and feasibility in monitoring and evaluating school-based psychosocial support in the Palestinian context.

The third article by El Masri et al. (pp. 47–57) uses a mixed-method approach to evaluate the process of role play-based competency assessments of facilitators delivering a psychological intervention to children in Lebanon. The authors conclude that using roleplay-based competency assessments and investing time to prepare for competency-based training is feasible and useful to ensure quality control in MHPSS services provision.

The fourth and final article in this issue is written by Kane et al. (pp. 58–69). The authors present the study protocol for an individually randomised, single-blind, parallel trial design. The trial focuses on refugees and other displaced persons with unhealthy alcohol and other drug (AOD) use and concomitant mental health problems. The planned trial will explore the acceptability, appropriateness, cost-effectiveness, feasibility and reach of a “screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment” (SBIRT) system in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and northern Zambia.

We have four personal reflections as part of this issue. In light of our 20-year celebration, we invited two of Intervention’s former authors to reflect on their publications and asked them how they looked back on these publications, the impact it has had and if they would still support their main findings. First, Budosan (pp. 70–71) reflects on his publication from 2011 on the mental health training of primary health care workers in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Jordan (Budosan, 2011). He concludes that its main findings remain relevant today. However, a decade later he also underlines how complex the process of integrating mental health into primary health care is.

Second, Wessels (pp. 72–75) reflects on his publication (Wessells & van Ommeren, 2008) and looks back on the development of the leading IASC Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings. He provides us with current and future considerations: power sharing with local people, listening to and co-learning with affected people and collective critical reflection, including on issues of process and relationships with local people. He underlines that greater attention to both the human and technical process can enable more contextual, effective and sustainable humanitarian action in the field of MHPSS.

Third, drawing from first-hand experience, Douglas (pp. 76–79) shares with us her experience in working with refugees and asylum seekers in Scotland through volunteers associated with churches and other faith-based organisations. She advocates for the continuation of proactive support for the wellbeing of volunteers, as the risks of burnout, compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma are high. Also, she advises that efforts should be made to challenge the “us and them” discourse and mentalities that can compound pre-existing stressors and weaken volunteer–New Scot relationships.

In our fourth and final personal reflection, Shackman and Saeedi (pp. 80–83) share their joint reflections as the provider and the receiver of workshops for Afghani refugee women. They describe the main elements of the workshops and their impact. The workshops acknowledged the losses and traumas the women had experienced, but also looked at ways of keeping hope alive and the importance of recognising and building on the strengths and resilience the women already had.

Tankink, one of Intervention’s former editors in chief, closes this issue with her book review of “Groupwork with Refugees and Survivors of Human Rights Abuses: The Power of Togetherness”, by editors Boyles, Ewart-Biggs, Horn and Lamb (2022).

Finally, we would like to hear from you, our readers and (aspiring) authors. What is going on in your areas of work? What can other MHPSS professionals learn from you and your colleagues? What are you facing and how have you dealt with it? We welcome your contributions via field reports, articles and personal reflections, and please feel free to reach out to us with questions.

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Conflicts of interest


  References Top

American Psychological Association. (2021). Apology to people of color for APA’s role in promoting, perpetuating, and failing to challenge racism, racial discrimination, and human hierarchy in U.S. https://www.apa.org/about/policy/racism-apology  Back to cited text no. 1
Budosan B. (2011). Mental health training of primary health care workers: Case reports from Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Jordan. Intervention, 9(2), 125–136.  Back to cited text no. 2
Wessells M., van Ommeren M. (2008). Developing inter-agency guidelines on mental health andpsychological support in emergency settings. Intervention, 6 (3/4), 199–218.  Back to cited text no. 3


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