Global Protection Update: Silver Linings - Mental health and wellbeing in the COVID era, February 2021

In 2020, on the frontlines of conflicts, disasters and climate change, COVID-19 became a crisis within a crisis – a health, protection, access, and service delivery nightmare. By the end of 2020, 100% of Protection Clusters reported psychological distress of affected populations as severe or extreme – the utmost protection concern across all contexts. If there is a silver lining to be taken from the 2020 storm, the collective recognition that Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) require urgent and at scale humanitarian response, maybe it. The humanitarian and protection outcomes we seek will only ever be partially achieved if people and communities do not recover and rebuild mentally. In 2021 rethinking what aspects of normal we want to return to is essential. The Global Protection Cluster is committed to ensuring that MHPSS is at the top of the agenda as the humanitarian protection response evolves, not reverts. An evolution that guarantees psychosocial support as an integrated aspect of all humanitarian and protection services – all delivery of the material should incorporate the mental. Getting MHPSS response right across all humanitarian sectors, including protection, is a litmus test for strong and learning humanitarian leadership. Learning from our own resilience or fragility to cope with monumental upheaval in 2020 should lead us all to a more human humanitarian response going forward.