National Stress Counsellor

Location : Suva, FIJI
Application Deadline :12-Aug-22 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :National Consultant
Languages Required :
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Duration of Initial Contract :8 Months
Expected Duration of Assignment :36 Days from 01 September 2022 to 30 April 2023.

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.


Critical Incident Stress Management Unit (CISMU) personnel, including locally engaged National Stress Counsellors, are primarily responsible for stress management, resilience building and mental health support following critical incidents. They have specific responsibilities in emergency preparedness, emergency response and hostage incident management. Furthermore, they address and promote staff psychosocial wellbeing issues in coordination with the local UN doctor, the Regional Security Advisor, the HQ Medical Service Division, HR Officers, UN Counsellors from other UN agencies, funds and programmes and senior and line managers UN system wide.

The National Stress Counsellor will be based in Suva, Fiji and provide services for staff and dependents located across the Fiji MCO (multi country office) which comprises of five countries in the Pacific region. While the current Security Level in the region is stable, the psychosocial well-being of staff is impacted by the isolation of the Pacific region, and lack of access to medical facilities, the ever-present threat of crime, unpredictable periods of civil unrest and concern about the potential onset of a natural disaster including regular cyclone events, flooding, and outbreak of diseases such as measles, dengue, and leptospirosis. Critical incident mental health support including the provision of psychological first aid may be required to address mental health emergencies including acute stress reactions, support victims of crime, provide support following medical emergencies and accidents, bereavements, family violence and other issues. In addition to the aforementioned difficulties, the current COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many countries instituting drastic measures including lockdowns to reduce the spread of the virus and associated fatalities. COVID 19 crisis is considered as a protracted health emergency that has complex psycho-social repercussions for UN personnel in the short and the long term that require expert psychological interventions to mitigate adverse mental health consequences.

Psychological reactions to COVID-19 such as panic, anxiety and denial are well known in populations across the world. Other important consequences of the pandemic across the globe include psychological and financial burden of the illness, death, drastic changes in the socio-cultural and behavioural patterns triggered by virus containment measures (i.e., movement restrictions / closed borders, people wearing masks, decrease of direct inter-personal contacts, changes in the cultural mourning and bereavement processes) that add on to the distress of families and exacerbate the crisis reactions. Domestic violence and intimate partner violence are also areas of concern. The UN Security Management Team in collaboration with the UN stress/staff counsellor, medical and security professionals in the headquarters and in country are required to adopt appropriate psychosocial strategies and interventions to assist UN personnel and their eligible family members. The TOR draws upon the experience and the outcomes of the activities of staff/stress counsellors in the pandemic outbreaks of infectious diseases such as Ebola virus disease and influenza.

Due to the above reasons and in line with the UN Duty of Care Framework, it is essential to continue the services of a part-time in-house stress counsellor for psychosocial support services for its personnel and dependents.

The main role of the National Stress Counsellor will be to build a sustainable stress management system in the UN Offices operating in country and to improve critical incident stress management preparedness of the UN security management system (UNSMS).

Duties and Responsibilities

Scope of Work

  • a. Under the administrative supervision of the Regional Security Advisor and the technical supervision of the CISMU Headquarter Regional Stress Counsellor, and in collaboration with the UN Senior Medical Adviser in Suva, the locally based stress counsellor will implement a wide range of stress management activities, including the UN strategic framework on critical incident stress prevention and management (MSCIS-2015).
  • b. Perform psycho-social needs assessments via surveys and focus groups and monitor the determinants of stress in the UN Offices and personnel.
  • c. Provide individual and group counselling sessions related to critical incidents.
  • d. Organize training sessions on stress and stress related issues.
  • e. Provide referral advice to UN staff.
  • f. Liaise with local experts and institutions in the country for referral, as well as with UN line managers, medical doctors, and local physicians in order to build a network of professionals ready to support and intervene in case of need.
  • g. Advise the UN SMT/Country Team Management on culturally applicable and gender sensitive stress mitigating strategies, and activities.
  • h. Provide 6 monthly reports to the Resident Coordinator, Security Advisor and to the UNDSS CISMU Regional Stress Counsellor on all activities maintaining due confidentiality


  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills;
  • Strong analytical, reporting and writing abilities skills;
  • Openness to change and ability to receive/integrate feedback;
  • Ability to plan, organize, implement and report on work;
  • Ability to work under pressure and tight deadlines;
  • Comprehensiveness knowledge of psychological counselling and or psychotherapy related field:
  • Outstanding communication, project management and organizational skills;
  • Excellent presentation and facilitation skills;
  • Demonstrates integrity and ethical standards;
  • Positive, constructive attitude to work;

Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability.

Required Skills and Experience

Educational Qualifications:

  • Master’s Degree in Psychology (Clinical Psychology), or Doctor of Medicine, Degree in Psychiatry (MD)
  • CISMU Certification: Successful applicant will be required to participate in UN CISMU certification training arranged by the UNDSS Office in Fiji.


  • Minimum of 5 years of professional experience in psychological counselling and or psychotherapy essential.

Language requirements

  • Fluency in written and spoken English and local languages.
  • Prior experience with the United Nations is desirable.



Procurement Notice: UNDP | Procurement Notices - 93953 - National Stress Counsellor

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