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Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 10-20% of children and young people worldwide faced mental health conditions, with 1 in 4 children estimated to be living with a parent who is struggling with a mental health disorder. In conflict zones, an estimated 56 million children require MHPSS interventions. This is significant, as mental and psychosocial wellbeing is crucial to reducing poverty, peacebuilding, addressing GBV, and reconstruction of affected areas and economies. Importantly, other humanitarian activities such as shelter, water and sanitation, food and medical aid have shown to be less effective when not combined with effective psychosocial programmes.
However, despite its clear benefits, many humanitarian responders do not view MHPSS as an immediate need, and where it is provided, quality varies, with limited resourcing and short-term patchy interventions. Indeed, while mental and psychosocial health accounts for over 20% of the healthcare burden in crisis situations, MHPSS receives less than 1% of humanitarian health budgets, with no clear way to monitor how the money is spent. This funding gap is likely to be even greater in smaller, under the radar crisis. Therefore, this panel will aim to discuss these challenges in integrating MHPSS interventions, with a regional focus on Southeast Asia . Papers with a regional focus on Southeast Asia are welcome with respect to methodological advancements for implementing MHPSS activities, leveraging funding for MHPSS, best-practice programme interventions, as well as papers on evaluating the impact of MHPSS programming.