For a resilient and mentally healthy aid sector

The psychological impact of aid work can be high.

Aid workers operate in complex, stressful and insecure environments, often while away from their own support networks. The psychological impact of aid work can be high.

Research has found that up to 30 per cent of aid workers have reported significant symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after their assignments, and 20 per cent have reported clinically significant levels of depression. Levels of post-deployment anxiety, burnout and distress are also high.

Aid workers deserve to get specialised support from psychologists who understand the unique challenges and risks of humanitarian aid and emergency relief work. With the right support, aid workers can be supported to manage these issues and continue doing this important work for a long time.

The mission of Mandala Staff Support is to help build a healthier and more resilient aid sector by strengthening systems of staff care and support.

You can help support our mission by becoming an advocate for aid worker wellbeing. Equip yourself with the facts, and talk about the issues with your friends, colleagues, staff and managers. Here are some useful links to get you started.


  • The Guardian Global Development Professionals Network – runs a series of articles on aid worker wellbeing, including research on the prevalence of burnout, anxiety and PTSD among humanitarian workers.
  • The MHPSS Network – an online network sharing resources and knowledge on mental health and psychosocial support in emergency settings and situations of chronic hardship. There is a group for the Psychosocial Support of Staff.
  • The Antares Foundation – a Netherlands-based organisation dedicated to improving the quality of staff support and care in humanitarian and developmental organisations through advice, training, support and research.
  • The Centre for Humanitarian Psychology – an international organisation providing psychological support to humanitarian workers in the field through a team of volunteer counsellors.
  • The Headington Institute – a US-based organisation providing psychological and spiritual support to humanitarian relief and development personnel worldwide.
Stress and anxiety