Psycho-Social Wellbeing Consultant

Closing date: 01 Feb 2021

The European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC) is an independent legal centre based within the School of Law at Middlesex University. We use international legal mechanisms to challenge serious human rights abuses in Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia, in partnership with committed local lawyers and NGOs. We aim to secure justice for victims of human rights violations and their families, and to bring about lasting systemic change in the region.

We are looking to engage a qualified expert-consultant in psychosocial wellbeing to help develop our organisational planning to promote wellbeing. We are looking for someone to provide support with a needs assessment, training and provide insights and advice on what kind of support and supervision we could provide to our team, and insights on how to know if any new tools or approaches are working (evaluation).

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all activities should be conducted remotely in the first instance. We expect the consultancy to take approximately 10-15 days, spread over 1-2 months.

Background

Our motivation for this consultancy is to make genuine improvements to the wellbeing of our small staff team (approx. 15 people) and mitigate some key risks to their wellbeing:

  1. The EHRAC team is regularly exposed to content such as testimonies, legal filings and accounts of severe human rights violations in the FSU. These include torture, extra-judicial killings, gender-based violence, femicide, enforced disappearances, etc. Whilst we usually do not work directly with the victim/court applicants, studies have shown that continuous exposure to this type of content can result in increased anxiety, depression, burnout, and vicarious trauma.
  2. Working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to have impacted the mental wellbeing of staff. Our staff have less access to their regular staff support network, and managers and colleagues have less opportunity to identify signs of stress, anxiety or deteriorating mental wellbeing. Work-life balance habits have also become a concern.
  3. We recently started a new project focusing on grave violations by security forces, and have staff exclusively, or spending a significant amount of time, on this project, which is particularly ‘heavy’ and potentially distressing.

It is therefore an important time to revisit wellbeing at EHRAC.

Scope of work

The key question we want to address is: How can EHRAC develop and build an environment that promotes staff wellbeing, and what support, tools and resources can we provide our team to mitigate risks to their mental wellbeing?  And how can we ensure any tools, resources and support translate into real improvements in the wellbeing of our staff?

We are looking for something specific and tailored to our work and ways of working. We see the work falling into three phases (but we would welcome alternative and other suggestions/proposals):

  1. Needs assessment
  • Reviewing current tools and practice;
  • Meet/engage with our staff team (either in groups and/or individually, to be proposed by the expert) to understand their needs;
  • Identify best practice, tools or other literature specific to the area of human rights and wellbeing which might be relevant.
  1. Staff training session
  • Organise and deliver a training session to our staff team to cover essentials regarding resilience, monitoring and promoting your wellbeing, recognising signs/symptoms of trauma, anxiety etc. in yourself or your colleagues (and what to do); signposting to resources.
  1. Developing tools and mapping next steps
  • Develop a sign-posting toolkit for staff with relevant support articles, tools and resources/information, specific to the nature of our work;
  • Identify relevant specialist counselling services for those affected by trauma (or guidance on how to identify and select suitable counsellors for this);
  • Make a list of recommendations for EHRAC to implement in the future to advance and promote staff wellbeing;
  • Suggest ways we can evaluate the effectiveness of any new processes introduced;
  • Potentially deliver a follow-up session/training if deemed appropriate.

This is a stand-alone and discrete piece of consultancy work. However, there is potential to be engaged in the future to provide further support or services depending on the outcome of the needs assessment.

Experience required

  • Qualified psychologist, wellbeing expert or similar with HCPC accreditation;
  • Experience of developing needs-based wellbeing plans for organisations
  • Experience of providing training;
  • Experience of working with human rights organisations, legal professionals or similar groups with exposure to distressing materials and content;
  • Evidenced understanding of the needs of persons dealing with traumatic content such as torture, violence, domestic violence, etc.

Application

To apply, please send your CV (including relevant CPD training), a cover letter outlining your relevant experience, proposed approach and timeline to Oksana Popova: o.popova@mdx.ac.uk.

Please include your proposed budget/day rate. All applications must be received by 1 February 2021.

We will assess proposals based on:

  • The applicant’s understanding of the scope of work and our specific needs;
  • The applicant’s experience of delivering similar projects;
  • The quality of the applicant’s proposed approach;
  • Value for money.