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Global Mental Health | Overview


The Global Mental Health (GMH) Core of the Trauma and Community Resilience Center conducts research and needs assessments, in partnership with communities across the globe. In addition, the GMH Core also provides training and consultation to agencies seeking to build their capacity to provide trauma-informed services in ways that are congruent with community needs and norms. Our research and consultation focuses on several key topic areas, including forcible displacement, trauma, acculturative stress, and violence prevention.

Our priorities center on partnership, equity, sustainability, and promoting non-violence and peace on a global scale. We employ community-led, child- and family centered, multidisciplinary, and integrated care approaches to research and programming. At the TCRC, we aim to translate and disseminate evidence into actionable policies and plans for communities, health systems, and policymakers, paying special attention to incorporate local perspectives, nurture interconnectedness, and address structural determinants of health.

We collaborate with several key partners in our GMH work. This includes the Global Health Program at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Center for Global Health at University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC). The Boston Children’s GHP has supported the TCRC’s research initiatives to better understand the experiences of specific communities, and it has facilitated the development of multidisciplinary technical assistance teams to guide research and training projects across the globe. Our partnership with UIC has been central to the development of the Multidisciplinary Expert Resource Group (MERG), a team that provides technical assistance, project development, and evaluation support to key stakeholders in countries that have repatriated women and children from formerly ISIS controlled territories.

For more information about our Global Mental Health work, please contact Enryka Christopher at

Global mental health research

Our global mental health research projects at the TCRC are typically focused on understanding how experiences of displacement and migration have impacted specific global populations. We also conduct research on risk and resilience trajectories in order to inform programming. TCRC is conducting research projects in the following countries:

  • Canada: Dr. Ellis, in collaboration with Dr. Cecile Rousseau of McGill University, sampled individuals across the Northeast United States to learn more about the role of mental health, social support, endorsement of conspiracy theories, and collective identity on someone’s likelihood toward violent radicalization and COVID-19 behavioral intentions. This study is part of a larger one that will provide the chance to do comparisons on a global scale, giving us much needed insight into the determinants of attitudes toward radicalization in this unique, post pandemic context among young people.

Building Mental Health Providers’ Capacity in Suicide Prevention in Kazakhstan

Dr. Samantha Awada has partnered with Dr. Aliya Mambetalina of L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University in Astana, Kazakhstan to complete a project (funded by the Global Health Program at Boston Children’s Hospital) that aims to support capacity building for mental health providers in Kazakhstan in providing suicide prevention and treatment. This project will identify child and adolescent mental health providers’ needs regarding suicide screening, assessment, and safety planning. Informed by this needs assessment and a review of evidence-based models for safety planning (adapted for the Kazakh context), a mental health provider training will be delivered by Dr. Awada, Dr. Mambetalina, and Dr. Cardeli. Further, this project aims to work with mental health leaders in Kazakhstan to discuss implementing data collection approaches to establish a quality-improvement structure within healthcare systems that measures effectiveness of new suicide screening/intervention approaches.

Needs assessments

Needs assessments involve identifying the needs of a program — in conjunction with the needs of the population the program is looking to serve — to guide the delivery of social services to a group of people. At the TCRC, our needs assessment projects typically focus on identifying needs secondary to trauma, vicarious trauma, disability, and displacement. Currently, the TCRC is conducting needs assessments in the following countries:

  • Colombia: In partnership with the Polus Center for Social & Economic Development, Dr. Cardeli is working to assess the social and emotional needs of police officers who’ve been wounded in the line of duty. She is also assessing existing healthcare and social services available to injured officers, with the goal of improving the healthcare systems’ alignment with beneficiary needs. As an outcome of this project, Dr. Cardeli is delivering training in key principles of trauma-focused treatment to mental health professionals in the Colombian National Police Force as a means of strengthening existing services.
  • Rwanda: The School of Leadership Afghanistan (SOLA), the first and only Afghan-led boarding school dedicated to the education of Afghan girls, has recently relocated to Rwanda. The relocation of the school to Rwanda was one of many consequences of the Taliban’s retaking control of Afghanistan in 2021. The TCRC is conducting a comprehensive needs assessment of Rwandan-based programming with the goal of developing a strategic plan for restructuring and strengthening SOLA’s educational model in accordance with students’ foremost needs.

Training and consultation

Our global mental health training and consultation projects at the TCRC have largely focused on strengthening the capacity of healthcare and social service agencies to provide trauma-informed, culturally congruent care to women and children repatriated from formerly ISIS-controlled territories. This work has been conducted in partnership with UIC and other members of the global Multidisciplinary Expert Resource Group (MERG). As more women and children return to their homelands, there is an urgent need to support their successful integration.