1. Purpose of the consultancy
The purpose of this short-term consultancy is to assist the WHO Representative Office for Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam and Singapore (“WCO”) in strengthening the actions for an improved mental health and psychosocial well-being of people living in Malaysia, focusing on, but not limited to, children and adolescents.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the extent and severity of the global mental health crisis, affecting particularly strongly children and adolescents. Limited social interactions and interrupted education and employment have negatively impacted young people’s mental health, while at the same time resources have been diverted away from mental health services.
Children and adolescents in Malaysia face a substantial burden of poor mental health and psychosocial well-being. In the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2017, 40% of adolescents reported symptoms of anxiety and 18% reported symptoms of depression. Suicide is estimated to be the second leading cause of death for adolescents in Malaysia, with an estimated 10% of adolescents reporting suicidal ideation and 7.3% making suicidal plans.
The Ministry of Health Malaysia has developed a comprehensive National Strategic Plan for Mental Health 2020-2025, with several national targets, including reduction of depression amongst adolescent down from 18% to 10% by 2025. To further accelerate the implementation of the National Strategic Plan, in 2022 the Ministry of Health has launched the National Centre of Excellence on Mental Health.
Recognizing the urgent need to support countries to accelerate action for young people’s mental health, WHO and UNICEF have come together to co-create and deliver a Joint Programme on the mental health and psychosocial well-being and development of children and adolescents. The Joint Programme aims to strengthen the capacity of countries to implement child- and adolescent-centred, evidence-informed, and human-rights based multisectoral strategies to deliver opportunities, support and services for children, adolescents, and their caregivers.
Additionally, the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific (“WPRO”) developed a Regional Framework for the Future of Mental Health in the Western Pacific 2023-2030, endorsed by the Member States at the 73rd Regional Committee Meeting in 2022. The Regional Framework acts as a framework to help refocus the mental health agenda and enable new ways of thinking to transform our approach to mental health, throughout the life course.
A consultant is required to support implementation of the Joint Programme and the Regional Framework in Malaysia, through identifying the gaps and needs and the most impactful activities to be implemented by the WCO in 2024-2025.
3. Planned timelines (subject to confirmation)
Start date: 1 June 2023 (estimated started date)
End date: 30 November 2023 (6 months)
4. Work to be performed
By working closely with the WCO and WPRO technical units, the consultant will be responsible for providing high quality technical support to MOH and other partners, to achieve the following outputs:
Output 1 Support implementation of the Joint Programme and the Regional Framework in Malaysia:
1.1 Perform desk-based review and conduct consultations with the MOH and other relevant stakeholders to identify the gaps and needs, guided by the two frameworks.
1.2 Identify the key focus areas for Malaysia under the Joint Programme framework and the Regional Framework and define the activities to support the framework implementation.
1.3 Develop concept notes and support writing of grant applications.
1.4 Build partnerships with the key stakeholders, including the government, civil society, and NGOs.
Output 2 Support the WCO in planning and implementation of various mental health-related activities:
2.1 Work with the WCO to develop a strategy including addressing adolescent mental health and an activity plan for implementation in 2024-2025.
2.2 Work with the WCO communications team to develop communication and advocacy materials.
2.3 Perform other tasks as requested by the WHO Representative and technical leads.
Monthly progress reports.
Technical materials (e.g., policy briefs, presentation slides) produced throughout the consultancy period.
Final implementation report written in the specified format.
5. Methods to carry out the activities
6. Specific requirements
Required: University degree in medicine, nursing, psychiatry, psychology, social work or behavioural sciences from an institution or university recognized in the International Association of Universities’ Worldwide Database of Higher Education Institutions, Systems and Credentials (WHED)
Desirable: Postgraduate (master's level) qualification in related field of mental health or public health.
Required: Minimum five years' work experience in mental health programme focusing on, but not limited to, children and adolescents.
Desirable: Experience working with the MOH Malaysia at national or State level on mental health programme(s); relevant work experience in WHO, other UN agencies, relevant nongovernmental organizations.
TECHNICAL SKILLS & KNOWLEDGE
Fluent in written and spoken English and Malay.
7. Place of assignment
9. Medical Certificate
Individual consultants must provide WHO fitness for work form from their physician.
Consultant may be required to travel locally to meet with MOH and other stakeholders.