​Supporting people's mental wellbeing in most vulnerable moments.


Farhana Javid, Mental Health & Psychosocial Delegate

Not all superheroes wear capes. Instead, some carry the most resilient heart, bringing comfort wherever they go. One such superhero is Farhana Javid, a mental health and psychosocial delegate with the ICRC. Having started her journey with the ICRC in 2011 as a field health officer in Kashmir, Farhana has come a long way – she is headed to Syria for her next mission soon. As she packs her bags for Syria, Farhana’s children proudly tell their friends about how their mother is a superhero – a fact vouched for by many whose lives Farhana has touched during her numerous assignments.


1.      Hello, Farhana, thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Can you introduce us to your work at the ICRC?

As a mental health delegate, I often support people in their most vulnerable moments. Their stories and tragedies also affect me but these people have made me even more resilient, shaping my life in ways I never thought possible.

In 2017, I went to Ukraine on my first-ever posting as a globally deployed staff member. Surviving extreme weather conditions like minus 30 degrees Celsius, working with people whose language I didn’t know, managing work and life (I have two children), making five-hour commutes to work every day and numerous other struggles of working in conflict zones - I loved it all. My ability to adapt, be empathetic and view everybody humanely helped me through the tough days.

2.      What is the most challenging about your work?

Being away from home is tough.  You don’t just miss the milestones like birthdays and weddings, but also feel the loneliness when something tragic happens back home. Even though you’re constantly virtually connected with your loved ones, it’s not the same.  What keeps me going is the bond I have with my work and the people I help. Work is certainly challenging, but what is life without challenges?

3.      In your opinion, what has changed the most over the years you have been working at the ICRC?

Today, we have become more diverse. There was a time when the organization did not hire anybody who wasn’t Swiss. But now, there are people from over 150 nationalities working for the ICRC, for one cause – that is so inspiring!

4.      Why did you choose to pursue your career as a humanitarian worker?

The ICRC has given me a new identity. It is worth the sacrifice when those I help tell me that they eagerly await my visits, that life is a little less difficult because of our support, that they sleep better because of our counselling sessions and talks. For me, that is the ultimate motivation.

Here's a video of Farhana in action, take a look: A psychologist helping people in a war zone