Mental Health Technical Advisor

Job Type

Full Time




New York
New York
United States


The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds to the world's worst humanitarian crises and helps people to survive and rebuild their lives. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers lifesaving care and life-changing assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster. At work today in over 40 countries and 22 U.S. cities, we restore safety, dignity and hope to millions who are uprooted and struggling to endure. The IRC leads the way from harm to home. 

The IRC’s vision is to lead the humanitarian field by implementing high-impact, cost-effective programs for people affected by crisis and by using our learning and experience to shape policy and practice. To achieve that vision, the IRC’s Program Quality Unit (PQU) provides technical assistance to IRC’s country program staff and shares what we learn to influence policy and practice. 

The Program Quality Unit has three central objectives that we work towards:

1) Guide program design to achieve outcomes by incorporating the best available evidence

2)  Build technical capacity of country program staff to implement, measure and continuously improve programs

3)  Influence the IRC, peer agencies and donors to use proven interventions and generate new evidence to achieve change in peoples’ lives 

The Program Quality Unit is comprised of seven technical Units, all of which have deep expertise in their respective sectors: Education, Economic Wellbeing, Gender Equality, Governance, Health, Violence Prevention and Response, and Research Evaluation and Learning (REL). 

The health technical unit is organized in four sectors; primary health, reproductive health, environmental health and nutrition. The structure emphasizes a clear division of roles between technical assistance core and important functions versus other specialized support/thought leadership functions in order to best meet the needs of country programs and regions. The health technical unit supports programming in 6 regions and 27 countries.

 Length: 1 year, potential to extend up to extend up to 3 years.

Specific Responsibilities:

The Mental Health Technical Advisor (TA) will spend at least 80% of their time delivering technical assistance in-person and remotely to country program colleagues, coordinating within the health and violence prevention and response unit and with other technical units and departments. This is a primarily field facing position with the central responsibility focused on program quality. The remaining 20% of their time is spent on influence, advocacy, research, internal initiatives, at the discretion of their supervisors. The Technical Advisors’ specific responsibilities are as follows: 

Engaging in business development and program design:

  • Support country program staff to design programs and projects, ensuring that they are:
  • Aligned with the IRC’s 2020 strategy, which includes supporting country program staff with contextualizing outcomes and the theories of change, and selecting interventions based on the best available evidence and the local context;
  • Responsive to client needs and preferences
  • Based on sound context and gender analysis

·         Support selection of indicators for country programs

  • Review technical quality of proposals, including review of technical mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) strategies, interventions and activities and ensuring alignment to IRC’s outcomes
  • Input into go / no go decisions on proposals

·         When necessary, write technical narratives of proposals

  • Provide input on budgets required for project delivery
  • Engage with donors and do outreach in support of country programs 

Building technical capacity of country program staff to ensure ongoing program quality and innovation

  • Conduct technical MHPSS training and ongoing technical coaching for country program staff, including on IRC outcomes, theories of change, evidence and indicators
  • Share cross-context learning with country program staff across the region
  • Support senior country program staff recruitment and onboarding 

Project delivery support:

  • Work with country program colleagues and the Primary Health TA to help analyze data that inform periodic review and course correction as-needed
  • Review and share program-specific tools / resources / curricula and work with Technical Unit specialists to contextualize and adapt global and country-specific material
  • Help define approach to teaming / partnering with other organizations 

Management and Coordination:

  • Coordinate and plan with country coordinators and health and violence prevention and response technical unit sector advisors the technical assistance country programs receive.
  • Participate in coordination efforts within the health and violence prevention and response unit and with other technical unit and departments in IRC as required.
  • Provide necessary management support to any direct report. 


  • Represent the health and violence prevention and response unit and the IRC in academic fora, donor meetings, inter-agency working groups, and various global/regional fora as assigned by the supervisor.
  • Participate in and advise strategic initiatives in the health and violence prevention and response unit, and participate in joint initiatives with other IRC technical units as agreed upon by the supervisor, for example, outcomes and evidence, measurement, context adaptability, best use of resources, emergency preparedness, client voice and choice and research and development. 

Key Working Relationships:

Position Reports to: Mental Health Technical Advisor located in New York

Position directly supervises:  This position could potentially supervise interns.

Other Internal and/or external contacts:

Internal:   Regular communication with education, violence prevention and response, health, economic recovery & development, governance, research, evaluation and learning, and gender equality technical unit teams. Close relationships with regional and country program teams. Interacts with IRC internal departments, including business development, external relations and advocacy departments, to keep them informed of program activities.

External:  Serve as IRC program representative in outside regional meetings and global meetings and academic forums with donors, other non-governmental organizations, inter-agency groups and foundations.

Job Qualifications:

Education: Master’s degree in clinical social work or counseling or a PsyD or PhD in psychology, counseling or social work with a minimum of 3 years post-licensure experience. 

Work Experience: A minimum of 5 years of international field experience, of which at least 3 in managerial/coordination positions with Non-Governmental Organizations in humanitarian or post-conflict settings. Experience in technical tools and materials development and monitoring and evaluation is highly desired. Experience in strategy development and working across sectors or disciplines is highly desired. 

Demonstrated Skills and Competencies: Demonstrated expertise in working with donors, project design, proposal development, and monitoring and evaluation, with the ability to turn concepts and strategy into measurable action. Able to work with remote, multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary teams. Strong interpersonal verbal and written communication skills and ability to facilitate collaboration. Outstanding capacity to understand the country context, portfolio, and overall programmatic needs, and pull and coordinate the relevant technical assistance from within and outside the health unit. Ability to transfer technical knowledge and skills. Demonstrated commitment to renewing and maintaining currency with best practices. 


Language Skills: Fluency in English required; proficiency in French and Arabic is desired/an advantage. 

Working EnvironmentUp to 30% travel may be required. This position will be based in New York.

Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required

No requirement

How To Apply