Skip to main content

Search results

90% of our funding comes from individual donors. Learn how you can support MSF’s lifesaving care with a gift.

Scroll down for content
Coronavirus: MSF's mobile clinic for vulnerable groups

France 2020 © Agnes Varraine-Leca/MSF


Let's talk COVID-19: Mental health

Coronavirus: MSF's mobile clinic for vulnerable groups

France 2020 © Agnes Varraine-Leca/MSF

April 09, 2020

1:00PM-1:45PM ET

Event type: Live online


Join us for this live online discussion series to find out how Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is responding to the evolving COVID-19 emergency.

During the event, MSF aid workers and medical experts will answer your questions about the humanitarian impacts of COVID-19.

On Thursday, April 9, our focus will be on mental health as MSF-USA Executive Director Avril Benoît welcomes Dr. Kaz de Jong, clinical and health psychologist and head of the staff health department for MSF based in Amsterdam, and Athena Viscusi, clinical social worker and psychosocial care specialist for MSF-USA.

Dr. de Jong provides psychosocial support to MSF staff responding to the coronavirus pandemic and other emergencies. He is also working independently in his home country of the Netherlands to support health care workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response there. Ms. Viscusi is supporting US based MSF staff with the difficult decisions and challenges faced by humanitarian aid workers during this pandemic.

They will talk about how aid workers and health workers around the world can cope with intense pressures, exhaustion, and social isolation, as well as manage feelings of guilt, fear, grief, and loss. They will also discuss some of the anxieties we all share in these uncertain times, and how we can take care of our own mental health.

Your registration allows you to attend all events in this series.

After you register, you'll receive an email confirmation with the Zoom link to attend online. You'll also receive email reminders before each event.


Avril Benoît, MSF-USA Executive Director, has worked with the international medical humanitarian organization since 2006 in various operational management and executive leadership roles, most recently as the director of communications and development at MSF’s operational center in Geneva from November 2015 until June 2019. Throughout her career with MSF, Avril has contributed to major movement-wide initiatives, including the global mobilization to end attacks on hospitals and health workers. She has worked as a country director and project coordinator for MSF, leading operations to provide aid to refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants in Mauritania, South Sudan, and South Africa. Avril’s strategic analysis and communications assignments have taken her to countries including Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Haiti, Iraq, Lebanon, Mexico, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sudan, and Syria. From 2006 to 2012, Avril served as director of communications with MSF Canada.

Kaz de Jong, PhD, clinical and health psychologist, is head of the staff health department and mental health advisor for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)’s based in Amsterdam. This unit addresses prevention and treatment of both physical and mental health concerns of national and international field staff; administers management trainings; and provides on-site trainings and psychosocial support to field teams. Dr. de Jong joined MSF in 1994 and gained extensive field experience both as a mental health aid worker and in the capacity of mental health advisor in the public health department of MSF in Amsterdam. As member of the MSF crisis team he has been involved in the management of serious critical incidents. Dr. de Jong earned his PhD in clinical psychology at Utrecht University and an MA in organizational psychology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He has contributed to numerous scientific publications on the development of mental health programs to address the psychosocial consequences of man-made and natural disasters. He created MSF’s own mental health guidelines and participated in writing the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings (IASC/WHO, 2007).

Athena Viscusi, clinical social worker, is the Psychosocial Care Specialist for the US office of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). In this role she provides psychosocial support to humanitarian workers before, during, and after their MSF assignments. Previously, she directed mental health and psychosocial programs for MSF in several different countries, including work during the epidemic interventions for cholera in Haiti and Ebola in West Africa. Prior to MSF, Athena worked as a clinical social worker in Washington DC, mostly in the Latino community. Currently she provides pro bono psychological assessments for asylum applicants. Athena is a proud graduate of the Howard University School of Social Work and of Barnard College, with advanced training in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, Solution Focused Brief Therapy, Play Therapy, and Family Systems Theory.


Future events in this discussion series:

Thursday, April 16, 2020 - 1:00 PM EDT (10:00 AM PDT)

*Each event will run approximately 45 minutes.


Past Events in this series:

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Thursday, March 26, 2020