Clinical supervision for mental health interventions


Despite the commitments acquired and the efforts made, in Latin American and Caribbean countries, mental health conditions and the implementation of strategies to address them remain a great challenge.  This is evidenced in multiple documents, such as in the PAHO report "The burden of mental disorders in the Americas”, where it is reported that"mental health conditions cause more than a third of the total disability in the Americas and that only 2% of the countries' health budget is allocated to the prevention and treatment of these disorders”.

In addition to this, the pandemic caused by COVID-19 resulted in psychosocial changes that have affected way of living and generated an increase in the prevalence of mental disorders.  Specifically, the prevalence of major depressive disorders has increased by 34.8% and anxiety disorders by 31.7%, according to an article published by The Lancet.

The large number of people infected by COVID-19, the large number of deaths that occurred, the shortage of supplies, long working hours, the precariousness of some care services and the shortage of personnel, among other factors, negatively impacted the mental health of health professionals.  At the Heroes Studio it is shown that between 14.7% and 22% of the health personnel presented symptoms that made them suspect a depressive episode and that between 5 and 15% thought of committing suicide; in the countries of the region only a third of them received the necessary support.

All of the above has led to a great increase in the demand for mental health workers and services, which once again demonstrates the need to move towards changes in the design of policies, interventions and resources. 

 Within this framework, WHO recommends developing and strengthening the capacities of health teams at the first levels of care, so that they can attend to people with mental health conditions. To achieve this, it is necessary to have trained personnel who carry out clinical mental health supervision of these health personnel at the first levels of care. 

Clinical supervision is a collaborative and non-hierarchical strategy, focused on supporting staff to carry out quality interventions, by strengthening their professional skills, self-care and community participation.

It is for all of the above that the Pan American Health Organization has prepared this course to  be available to all countries and people whose interest is to train as Clinical Supervisors in Mental Health and thus be able to accompany health personnel in this challenging task.



"Clinical Supervision in Mental Health Interventions" is an online and downloadable self-paced course. It is available on the educational platform of the PAHO/WHO Virtual Campus of Public Health and can be navigated from a computer, tablet and/ or cell phone.

The course consists of theoretical content, activities, interactive videos and infographics.


To provide mental health specialists with sufficient and evidence-based tools to supervise professionals performing clinical Mental Health interventions.


At the end of the course the student will be able to recognize the quality criteria of the main elements of Clinical Supervision:

  1. Its keys: objectives, roles, challenges and practical aspects
  2.  Clinical history
  3. Basic communication skills: listening, facilitators of the narrative activity and facilitators of the generation of alternative narratives
  4. Clinical Supervision Strategies: direct clinical observation, case discussion, peer supervision and review of medical records
  5. Self-care


The course is aimed at mental health specialists who are responsible for the accompaniment, monitoring and / or clinical supervision of personnel (mental health or general health) who care for people with mental health conditions. 


  • 120 minutes per module
  • Total workload: 25 hours


The course consists of 14 modules articulated in five blocks:

  • I. Fundamentals of Clinical Supervision in Mental Health
  • II. The Clinical History
  • III. Communication Skills
  • IV. Supervisory Strategies
  • V. Self-care


At the end of the modules, a final evaluation of 25 questions will be carried out. After obtaining a score equal to or greater than 70%, students will be able to download the course certificate in PDF format.


  • IASC Interagency Standing Committee. IASC Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Situations. The common monitoring and evaluation framework for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Situations. Version 2.0.  Geneva.  2021.
  • Doctors Without Borders, International MSF Mental Health Working Group. Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Guideline. Chapter 4. 2021.
  • Falender A C and Shafranske P E.  Clinical Supervision: A competency-based approach.  American Psychological Association. 7th printing. Washington, DC. February 2009.
  • Fernández Liria A and Rodríguez Vega B. Interview skills for psychotherapists. Chapter 1. Psychology Library. Ed. Desclée. 2nd. Edition. 2008.
  • World Health Organization, Programme of action to bridge the gaps in mental health. MhGAP Intervention Guide: The clinical management of mental, neurological and substance use disorders at the non-specialist health care level. Version 2.0.  Geneva. 2018.



Last update: 09/Apr/2024