Monitoring and evaluation of mental health and psychosocial support programs in humanitarian settings: a scoping review of terminology and focus

Monitoring and evaluation of mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) programs is critical to facilitating learning and providing accountability to stakeholders. As part of an inter-agency effort to develop recommendations on MHPSS monitoring and evaluation, this scoping review aimed to identify the terminology and focus of monitoring and evaluation frameworks in this field.
We identified 38 program documents and 89 peer-reviewed articles, describing monitoring and evaluation of a wide range of MHPSS activities. In both program documents and peer-reviewed literature there was a lack of specificity and overlap in language used for goals and outcomes. Well-validated, reliable instruments were reported in the academic literature, but rarely used in monitoring and evaluation practices. We identified six themes in the terminology used to describe goals and outcomes. Logframe outcomes were more commonly mapped to generic program implementation activities (e.g. “capacity building”) and those related to family and community support, while outcomes from academic articles were most frequently mapped to specialized psychological treatments.
Inconsistencies between the language used in research and practice and discrepancies in measurement have broader implications for monitoring and evaluation in MHPSS programs in humanitarian settings within low- and middle-income countries. This scoping review of the terminology commonly used to describe monitoring and evaluation practices and their focus within MHPSS programming highlights areas of importance for the development of a more standardized approach to monitoring and evaluation.

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