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Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Specialist

Denver (United States of America)

  • Organization: IRC - International Rescue Committee
  • Location: Denver (United States of America)
  • Grade: Mid level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Public Health and Health Service
    • Social Affairs
  • Closing Date:

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Founded in 1933, the IRC is a leading nonsectarian, voluntary organization providing relief, protection and resettlement services for refugees and victims of oppression or violent conflict. One aspect of the IRC is to assist refugees resettling in the United States. The IRC opened a Denver office in 2016 to provide reception and placement services to newly arrived refugees. The office is slated to resettle more than 600 refugees in the coming federal fiscal year. Wraparound program services and holistic supports aim to realize positive impact in clients’ safety, health, education, economic wellbeing, and power. Some services are limited to refugees and other Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR)-eligible populations, while others are open to a broader population of refugees, immigrants, and forcibly displaced people.
The IRC in Denver’s approach is client-centered, empowerment-focused, trauma-informed, and multigenerational. Advancing racial equity and narrowing the gender gap are priorities for the IRC in Denver. The team’s efforts in this space are ongoing and evolving. Current work is focused on participating in learning and dialogue to deepen understanding and awareness of systemic inequities and systems of oppression; building an internal organizational culture that reflects a commitment to antiracism and gender equality for clients as well as staff, volunteers, and the broader community; engaging clients more deeply in making decisions that affect them, whether at the individual, household, program, or organizational level; using our power and influence to advocate for rules, policies, and laws that address inequities experienced by the people we serve and seek systemic change for the benefit of all who are impacted by these inequities; undertaking intentional efforts to shift dynamics and promote power sharing between leadership and the broader team as well as between staff and clients; and examining and changing practices in recruitment, recognition, and other areas of employee engagement and talent development to prioritize access to opportunity and work toward full inclusion and belonging for clients, staff, and volunteers who identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and LGBTQI, as well as those with disabilities and those who have lived experience as refugees and immigrants. 

Since launching its first psychosocial support programs in response to needs expressed by clients in the wake of anti-refugee and anti-immigrant policies implemented in 2017, the IRC in Denver’s programming to promote client safety and wellness has grown significantly. Within its Safety and Wellness Department, the IRC in Denver delivers a continuum of services that includes: 
•  The Family Stabilization Program (FSP), operated under contract with the Colorado Refugee Services Program (CRSP) to provide more intensive services that address threats to safety and daily functioning for specific categories of clients, including those who are survivors of domestic violence, live with severe and persistent mental illness, present with child welfare or elder abuse concerns, deal with substance abuse, experience suicide ideation, and/or identify to a group facing discrimination. 
•  Targeted services to promote school enrollment and engagement, social emotional and academic learning, artistic expression, and leadership development among children, youth, and young adults. 
•  Psychosocial Support Services (PSS), which offers a menu of group programs and community interventions, including New Roots community gardening, the We Can Do It! women’s skill-sharing group, cultural adjustment support groups, and other offerings that promote age- and gender-equitable access to opportunities to build resilience and increase social connectedness. 
•  The Survivor Wellness Center, which promotes full rehabilitation for primary and secondary survivors of torture through a holistic model that combines case management, psychosocial support, legal representation, medical and mental health services. 

The Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Program Specialist is responsible for building resilience of people forcibly displaced from Afghanistan. This position will be engaging with individuals and families from the Afghan community who are experiencing adjustment difficulties to offer encouragement, practical assistance, guidance, and emotional support. The role will include conducting client-centered needs assessments and skill-building workshops to enhance problem solving and promote positive interactions. Depending on community need, the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Program Specialist may also run psychosocial support groups, provide educational workshops, and develop community activities that foster healthy connections.

•  Promoting mental health and psychosocial support within affected communities. 
•  Meeting with individuals and families in the community to conduct needs assessments.
•  Preparing an appropriate plan of action with clearly identified goals and activities.
•  Under supervision, engaging in evidenced based psychoeducation and skill building activities.
•  Documenting activities through case notes and data entry.
•  Collaborating with supervisor to provide crisis assessment. 
•  Assisting with evaluation of current program services and explore ways to introduce new service opportunities.
•  Attending IRC trainings and conference calls addressing mental health program development and other refugee mental health and psychosocial support related topics.
•  Collaborating with colleagues across the team to provide holistic services in the context of the resettlement and integration process.
•  Other duties, as required.

Position Reports to:  Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Program Coordinator
Position directly supervises: N/A
Other Internal and/or external contacts: Mental Health Technical Adviser, evidence-based intervention trainers, mental health providers

•  Undergraduate degree preferred, ideally in the field of mental health or social services (relevant work experience can be a substitute for an undergraduate degree). 
•  Fluency in English and Dari and/or Pashto required.
•  Prior experience working with refugees and/or community organizing, preferably with disadvantaged communities and related to health or mental health and psychosocial support. 
•  Trust and rapport with the Afghan community.
•  Familiarity with issues facing refugee and immigrant communities as they relate to trauma, adjustment, and mental health.
•  Ability to assess needs, prioritize and develop action plans.
•  Ability to advocate and liaise with health and social service systems.
•  Excellent problem-solving skills combined with the proven ability to multi-task, prioritize duties and manage time effectively.
•  Strong communication skills (written and verbal).
•  Ability to work independently and as a team member in a fast-paced, cross-cultural environment.
•  Demonstrated success working and communicating effectively across lines of difference with respect to race, gender, ethnicity, language, religion, and age.
•  Ability to follow strict guidelines of client confidentiality and safeguarding.
•  Proficient in Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, Outlook) and familiarity with data-tracking systems.
•  Valid driver’s license, access to reliable vehicle with current insurance.

In accordance with IRC’s duty to provide and maintain a workplace that is free of known hazards and our commitment to safeguard the health of our employees, clients, and communities, IRC requires candidates who are selected for interview to furnish proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 to be considered for this position.

•  At present, the IRC in Denver office is partially open. Hybrid remote/in-person work modifications are in place due to ensure staff and client safety given public health guidance related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff will be provided with IRC laptops and cell phones and must have access to a location with secure internet service where remote work can be performed according to the schedule negotiated with their supervisor.
•  All staff are required to adhere to IRC’s COVID risk mitigation policies, which include but are not limited to masking, physical distancing, enhanced hygiene practices, symptom screening, and isolation and quarantine when needed. In some cases, these policies may be stricter than those imposed at the federal, state, or local level. 
•  The IRC in Denver strives to offer a positive working environment, with intentional efforts to ensure that it is diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible for all. Staff are required to adhere to the values and principles outlined in IRC Way – Standards for Professional Conduct. These are Integrity, Service, Accountability, and Equality. In accordance with these values, the IRC operates under policies on Beneficiary Protection from Exploitation and Abuse, Child Safeguarding, Anti-Workplace Harassment, Respect at Work, Fiscal Integrity, and Anti-Retaliation. 
•  This role entails periodic travel in and around the Denver metro area to attend meetings, carry out the responsibilities outlined above, and represent the IRC with donors, partners, and vendors.
•  Hours outside of typical office hours, including weekends and evenings, are occasionally required.

This position is a full-time position scheduled at 37.5 hours per week, with a 12-month initial term that may be subject to extension depending on availability of funding. It is classified as non-exempt, paid on an hourly basis and eligible for overtime under state and federal law. Starting compensation is $22.00 per hour, depending on experience and qualifications. As a term-limited, full-time employee, the Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Specialist qualifies for the IRC’s phenomenal benefits package, which includes: 
•  Generous paid time off with 20 days of paid vacation per year, 10 days of paid sick leave per year (not inclusive of paid COVID leave), and at least 9 paid holidays per year.
•  Outstanding medical, dental, and vision care benefits with low employee premiums.
•  Optional health care and dependent care flexible savings accounts and commuter benefits.
•  Life, accident, short-term disability, and long-term disability insurance.
•  Comprehensive parental and family leave benefits.
•  A 403(b) retirement savings plan that offers generous employer contributions and a matching contribution program.
•  A comprehensive employee assistance and resilience program.
•  Business travel medical insurance, access to Guardian Nurses, and more.
In addition, the IRC in Denver actively promotes learning and growth for its team members, through staff development accounts that allow staff to engage in individualized goal-aligned professional development, access to a range of talent development offerings to build skills in a wide array of areas from humanitarian principles to management skills, and opportunities to lead and engage with colleagues from across the IRC through communities of practice, special assignments, and designated roles that represent the Denver office, whether here in the U.S. or globally.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate based on race, religion, color, national origin, sex, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, marital status, veteran status, or disability status. We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us at [email protected] to request an accommodation.

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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