About the Mandala Foundation

The Mandala Foundation works to strengthen humanitarian and development action through the psychosocial support of aid workers, managers and organisations in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

Who We Are

The Mandala Foundation is a registered Not-For-Profit (NFP) providing professional psychological and psychosocial support services to the humanitarian aid and international development sectors. We aim to reduce the high risk of psychological injury to aid workers by strengthening staff care practices within aid organisations.

We consult closely with organisations to address their staff support needs; deliver counselling, debriefing and crisis support services; conduct workshops and trainings; and develop specialist psychosocial resources for the aid sector.

Based in Melbourne, our beneficiaries are humanitarian aid workers and managers who work or volunteer for Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) operating in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. The majority of these organisations are Australian-based, but the humanitarian workers we assist are from many nations. We also have close links with a range of organisations in the Pacific region.

In a nutshell, we are advocates for and specialists in supporting the mental health of aid workers.

Mandala Foundation team members share a light-hearted moment with a local forum volunteer while planning for the 2012 Pacific Psychosocial Forum in Honiara, Solomon Islands.

What We Do: The Psychosocial Approach

Our work is underpinned by a psychosocial approach to staff care and support. Mental health and wellbeing is influenced by a complex interplay of biological, psychological, social, spiritual and environmental factors. The psychosocial approach therefore acknowledges that the system that surrounds an individual is as important as personal psychological factors in maintaining mental fitness.

We advocate for a systematic approach to staff care that takes into account the diverse psychosocial risks and support needs that aid workers may encounter across the different phases of a humanitarian deployment or assignment. This includes from pre-assignment preparation to post-assignment re-entry and re-integration. We have developed a set of guidelines for the aid sector that outlines this systematic approach: Managing Psychosocial Risk across the Assignment Cycle.

Consultation is key to our work, and we work closely with NGOs to tailor support options to their needs and budget.

About Our Name

Mandala is a Sanskrit word for circle. In Hindu and Buddhist spiritual rituals, mandalas represent the macro and micro elements which together make up the universe.  They symbolise the interaction of elements to create a whole.

Traditionally, mandalas are used for meditation. Consequently, they are commonly linked with stress relief and personal development practices. Mandalas have been used around the world across a range of cultural and religious beliefs, from Navaho Indians to Tibetan monks and Christian nuns.

The mandala symbolises our approach to staff care through psychosocial support. The psychosocial approach takes a holistic and systematic view of supporting individuals, recognising the dynamic interaction between the individual and their environment.

The Mandala Foundation logo showing the components of a traditional mandala - square, large circle, triangle, crescent moon and small circle.

About Our Logo

Our logo symbolises the importance of a systematic approach to staff support in the aid sector. It reflects how the various elements of aid work interact with each other, together constituting the whole system that surrounds the aid worker.

The logo retains the traditional elements of a Tibetan mandala (square, large circle, triangle, crescent moon and small circle).

  • The Square = the field environment
  • The Large Circle = the organisational context
  • The Triangle = the team, or project context
  • The Crescent Moon = the manager
  • The Small Circle = the individual

2016-2018 Strategic Plan

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The psychosocial approach

The psychosocial approach to staff care recognises that mental health and wellbeing is influenced by a complex interplay of biological, psychological, social, spiritual and environmental factors. It acknowledges that the system that surrounds an individual is as important to maintaining mental fitness as personal psychological factors.