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Given the range and reach of psychosocial support (PSS) interventions in humanitarian settings, within the continuum of mental health and psychosocial support services, evaluation of their impact is critical. Understanding stakeholders' perspectives on which PSS interventions of unknown effectiveness warrant rigorous evaluation is essential to identify research priorities. This project aimed to facilitate a process with stakeholders to reach consensus on PSS interventions that are of high priority for further research based on existing evidence and stakeholders' opinions.
Interviews with 109 stakeholders working on PSS programming in humanitarian settings served as the foundation for two in-person regional meetings and four webinars. Nominal Group Technique (NGT) was used to develop a priority PSS program list. The top five priorities from each meeting were combined for a final online survey distributed globally.
Seventy participants across six meetings contributed to the prioritization process. Eighty-seven individuals completed the final online survey. ‘Community based PSS’ was the top-ranked research priority, followed by PSS integrated into basic services, providing PSS to caregivers to improve child wellbeing, PSS-focused gender-based violence programming, and classroom-based PSS interventions.
NGT and online surveys were effective methods to engage stakeholders in a priority setting exercise to development a research agenda. Information from this stage of the project will be combined with findings from a concurrent systematic review to form the base of a second phase of work, which will include the development and implementation of a research strategy to strengthen the evidence base for those prioritized interventions.
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