March 12, 2021

IRC’s “Let’s Talk” to increase access to mental health services for refugees in Jordan

Research and innovation team uses chat to drive new campaign design and content

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has implemented a new campaign that increases access to mental health services for 747 000 refugees in Jordan as well as Jordanians in distress.

The “Let’s Talk” campaign is spearheaded by the Airbel Impact Lab Middle East, part of the research and innovation team at the IRC, which collaborated with to prototype a campaign that reaches thousands of people in Jordan with extensively designed and researched content.  “Let’s Talk”  enables IRC to share information and engage with refugees in Jordan and vulnerable Jordanians on wellbeing and self-care.

The campaign was based on research from the World Health Organization (WHO) that shows that, in a crisis situation, up to 50 percent of people manifest light to moderate distress, with a further 15-20 percent experiencing lasting effects and in need of external support.

The extensive design research undertaken by Airbel Impact Lab Middle East led to an understanding of people’s perceptions, experiences and behaviours in real-time. This is being used to understand what are the best practices when it comes to bridging mental health related information gaps, breaking of stigma and improving access to existing services in a way that will have the best possible mental health outcomes and impact, using on WhatsApp.  

IRC’s Airbel Impact Lab Middle East undertook this research through two different groups of clients- a Community Design Group and a User Panel made up of crisis-affected community members in Jordan. Consisting of 8-9 members, the Community Design Group co-designed the content while the 45 member User Panel tested content. The constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic meant a shift from focus groups to remote feedback using Google Forms and WhatsApp groups. This two-tiered engagement has directly shaped key elements of the campaign, including its “Let’s Talk” theme.

Airbel Impact Lab Middle East is the research and innovation team at the International Rescue Committee. It works to design, test, and scale products, services and systems, creating lasting impact for people affected by conflict and crisis. was developed to enable social impact organisations to have personal, guided conversations at scale – conversations that result in actions with a powerful social impact.

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