Stress Counsellor

negotiable / YEAR Expired 2 months ago
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Open recruitment (advertised)

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Description of assignment title

Stress Counsellor

Assignment country


Expected start date


Sustainable Development Goal

3. Good health and well-being

Volunteer category

International UN Volunteer Specialist

Host entity




Expected end date


Number of assignments


Duty stations



Mission and objectives

The United Nations Department of Safety and Security (DSS) is responsible for providing leadership, operational support and oversight of the security management system to enable the safest and most efficient conduct of the programs and activities of the United Nations System. The headquarters of UNDSS is located in New York and have operations in more than one hundred countries. UNDSS Ethiopia is supporting the UNSMS in country through security advice and guidance to enable the conduct of operations in the safest way possible. The Stress Counsellor will work in the UNDSS Ethiopia. UNDSS will implement the Locally Cost-Shared Security Budget, which constitutes the financial contributions of all UNSMS Organizations in Ethiopia.


The primary goal of the United Nations Security Management System (UNSMS) is to enable the conduct of United Nations (UN) activities while ensuring the safety, security and well-being of personnel. The conditions under which UN personnel operate in the field have changed drastically over the years, particularly in light of the UN’s shift to a “stay and deliver” approach to operating in high-risk environments. This has substantially increased the number of individuals exposed to stress and critical incident stress. While many individuals who experience stress or critical incident stress can resume their daily activities with minimal or no disruption, some may encounter difficulty resuming such activities due to psychological, somatic or social reactions linked to such exposure. The United Nations Department of Safety and Security’s (UNDSS) Critical Incident Stress Management Section (CISMS) serves as the central body responsible for ensuring the adequate and timely coordination and provision of psycho-social services to staff. Such services are provided primarily at the field level through the establishment of a Critical Incident Stress Intervention Cell (CISIC), with coordination and support provided at the headquarter level, these cells consist of professional stress counsellors supported by UN system staff trained as Peer Helpers. The cells work on preparing the staff members and teams on improving resilience to stress, improve the response to stressful situations, and aid in the recovery from stressful or traumatic events. The Tigray region in Ethiopia was an active conflict zone in 2021 & 2022 ending in November 2022. This has increased stress level and critical incident issues among UN staff in the region. UN staff in Tigray region are faced with psychosocial distress. The mental health of staff and their families in the region is increasingly under pressure due to the conflict and adhesive humanitarian conditions in the region. Staff working in the region are routinely exposed to psychosocial distress such as stress, depression, burnout, trauma and anxiety. There is an increase in the demand for counselling services from UN agencies in the region. Other factors that have been identified commonly in UN staff in the region are cumulative stress reactions related to overwork, and declining efficiency due to burnout in the work environment.

Task description

Within the delegated authority and under the administrative supervision of the Chief Security Adviser and the technical guidance of the CISMS Regional Stress Counsellor, the UN Volunteer Stress Counsellor, will administrate a wide range of stress management activities, actively participating in emergency preparedness in the country in collaboration with UNDSS and the UN emergency coordination group as per the UNDSS CISMS standard operational procedures on the Management of Stress and Critical Incident Stress (MSCIS). Specific responsibilities will include : • Develop and implement a stress prevention and management plan applicable to all UN Agencies in the country. • Provide individual and group stress management and critical incident counselling sessions to the staff and dependents as/when needed, • Plan and facilitate training programmes on a variety of stress management related issues for UN personnel in the country and circulate useful reading resources related to stress. • Assist in establishing the Critical Incident Stress Intervention Cells (CISICs) including selecting Peer Helpers and Family Focal Points; facilitating peer helper training sessions (jointly with UNDSS CISMS); coordinating and following up on all relevant activities. • Liaise with existing local Staff Association to advocate for the organization of welfare activities for UN personnel. • Identify, address and follow up on high stress cases and critical incident stress cases among the UN personnel and dependents in the country. • Be willing to visit & travel regularly to the UN Offices/Sub Offices in the country in order to implement preventative stress management training activities and offer technical consultations when needed. • Collaborate with UN managers, agency counsellors, medical doctors, local experts and institutions on psychosocial issues with the objective of establishing a network of professionals ready to support and intervene in case of need. • Under the guidance of the CISMS Regional Stress Counsellor, coordinate all critical incident stress management activities with relevant stakeholders, including UN staff counsellors in the country and in neighboring countries, Peer Helpers, Family Focal Points, Mental Health Professionals etc. • Advise UN management on stress mitigating strategies and activities. • Perform ongoing psychosocial needs assessments and monitor the determinants of stress in UN personnel, including activities such as data collection, analyses, resource mapping and coordinating collective psychosocial capacity across UN agencies and partners. • Provide monthly reports to the Chief Security Adviser with copies to UNDSS CISMS on all his/her activities. Results/expected outputs As an active UNDSS team member, efficient, timely, responsive, client-friendly and high-quality support rendered to UNSMS and its partners in the accomplishment of her/his functions, including expert knowledge in the field of stress management and counselling; demonstrated adaptability and ability to work in austere, insecure environments and to adjust rapidly to varying social, organizational and geographic settings; good conceptual skills in mental health programming and/or public health; proven ability to provide counselling in stress and stress related issues and treat sensitive or confidential information appropriately; in depth understanding of the strategic directions in critical incident stress management. Candidate also shows pride in work and in achievements; demonstrates professional competence and mastery of subject matter; is conscientious and efficient in meeting commitments, observes deadlines and achieving results; motivated by professional rather than personal concerns; shows persistence when faced with difficult problems or challenges; remains calm in stressful situations; takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equal participation of women and men in all areas of work.

Eligibility criteria


27 – 80


Candidate must be a national of a country other than the country of assignment.


Required experience

3 years of experience in stress counselling, clinical psychology, psychiatry, or related field. • A valid certification to practice at national level in clinical psychology or psychiatry is required. • Additional training or experience in a broad range of related fields, such as alcohol/substance abuse, stress management, critical incident stress and cross-cultural communication would be an asset.

Area(s) of expertise

Crisis and emergency response, Health, Social work

Driving license


English, Level: Fluent, Required

Required education level

Master degree or equivalent in Clinical Psychology or Psychiatry.

Competencies and values

• Professionalism: • Integrity: • Teamwork and respect for diversity: • Commitment to continuous learning: • Planning and organizing: • Communication: • Communication:

Other information

Living conditions and remarks

Mikelle is the capital city of Tigray Region in Ethiopia. It is located around 780 kilometers (480 mi) north of the capital Addis Ababa, with an elevation of 2,254 meters above sea level. Administratively, Mikelle is considered a Special Zone, which is divided into seven sub-cities. Mikelle is the economic, cultural, and political hub of northern Ethiopia. Mikelle has grown rapidly since 1991. In 1984 it had 61,583 inhabitants, in 1994, 96,938 (96.5% being Tigrinya), and in 2006 169,200 (i. e. 4% of the population of Tigray). Mikelle is 2.6 times larger than Adigrat, the second largest regional center. It is the fifth largest city in Ethiopia, after Addis Ababa, DireDawa, Adama, and Gondar. Most of the population of Mikelle depends on government employment, commerce, and small-scale enterprises. There are limited medical facilities in Mikelle that are equipped to deal with moderate medical cases. Evacuation opportunities are also limited. However, air ambulance evacuation can be organized for life-threatening emergencies during daytime. Candidates with conditions requiring regular treatment or medical supervision should be appropriately advised. The climate of Ethiopia and the regions varies greatly. It is temperate on the plateau and hot in the lowlands. Generally, the high elevation of the land affects one’s adjustment to the environment. While the primary hospital in Mikelle is functioning, it is currently running low on medical supplies. Most pharmacies in town are open, but they also struggle to get medical supplies, so staff with prescriptions should come with at least 3 months of prescription medication. UN Clinic medical team supporting staff is available in Mikelle. The local currency is the Ethiopian Birr. Foreign currency may only be changed at authorized banks and hotels. Exchange of foreign currency outside the regulated banks (Black Market) is a criminal offence, and international UN personnel caught by police sting operations have been known to be arrested and detained for several days. Any entry or exit of cash more than US$3,000 (or the equivalent in other foreign currencies) must be declared to the customs authority upon arrival. ATM cash withdrawals are currently available in Mikelle. While humanitarian partners’ access to Tigray has improved, access to some areas in Western and Southern Tigray continues to be impeded by lack of Access, limiting the humanitarian response, particularly in rural hard-to-reach areas. There are regular flights between Addis Ababa and Tigray (Mikelle & Shire) by Ethiopian Airlines. The office deals primarily with several local camp environments with inherent risks to staff health. You can check full entitlements at the duty station at The complete UN Volunteer Conditions of Service is available at”

Inclusivity statement

United Nations Volunteers is an equal opportunity programme that welcomes applications from qualified professionals. We are committed to achieving diversity in terms of gender, care protected characteristics. As part of their adherence to the values of UNV, all UN Volunteers commit themselves to combat any form of discrimination, and to promoting respect for human rights and individual dignity, without distinction of a person’s race, sex, gender identity, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy, age, language, social origin or other status.

Note on Covid-19 vaccination requirements

Selected candidates for certain occupational groups may be subject to inoculation (vaccination) requirements, including against SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) in line with the applicable host entity policy

Mekele, Ethiopia
This job has expired.