Living with the Times, A Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Toolkit for Older Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Publication language
Date published
15 Mar 2021
Inter Agency Standing Committee (IASC)
Tools, guidelines and methodologies
Accountability to affected populations (AAP), COVID-19, Epidemics & pandemics, Health, Psychosocial support, Older people

Living with the Times: a mental health and psychosocial support toolkit for older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic has been developed by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings (IASC MHPSS RG).

This resource includes posters with key messages for older adults on how to take care of their well-being and how they can provide support to those around them during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. It includes instructions for facilitators of mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) on how to conduct guided conversations with older adults using these posters. The posters build upon the guidance sections for older adults in the IASC Interim Briefing Note Addressing Mental Health and Psychosocial Aspects of COVID-19 Outbreak, and the IASC Guidance on Operational Considerations for Multisectoral Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Programmes during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The production of this toolkit involved an iterative and participatory development process, which began with pilot-testing to understand what style of illustrations and designs worked best for older adults. A total of 199 older adults aged between 60 and 90 years, from 51 countries, provided inputs to the design and content via an online survey and a number of focus group consultations. The process was a unique inter-agency collaboration between experts from different disciplines, including dementia, MHPSS in humanitarian settings, and ageing and disability. Through a network of country-level MHPSS Technical Working Groups, the posters were then tested with 80 older adults from a wide range of countries, based on geographical location and different income groups and contexts. This testing phase included older adults living in humanitarian settings from a total of 10 countries. The posters with key messages require minimal reading skills, are culturally diverse and aim to engage older adults in conversations and activities.

The Inter-Agency Standing Committee