Skip to main content

Ethnicity and Mental Health: Exploring Nonmedical Approaches to Mental Health for Roma Communities in Europe


The Open Society Public Health Program invites concept notes from consortiums in Europe to explore ethnic discrimination and racism as crosscutting issues with mental health in Roma communities.


The Open Society Public Health Program invites concept notes from consortiums in Europe to explore ethnic discrimination and racism as crosscutting issues with mental health in Roma communities. Concept notes should address the identification and development of nonmedical approaches to mental health for Roma people with lived experience of mental health challenges.

The central aim of this initiative is to advance nonmedical approaches to mental health that incorporate the impact of social determinants, social exclusion, and anti-Roma on the mental health of Roma people. Concept notes should address how mental health support can be shaped and capacity developed to address these issues from both individual and social perspectives.

This is an unexplored area of research and development, which has historically been determined and aggravated by the professional and communal bias towards Roma people. Health outcomes of Roma are among the main public health challenges in Europe, yet they remain mostly unattended by policymakers and public health professionals. The evidence of Roma’s health status remains anecdotal as the EU member states do not permit the collection of data disaggregated by ethnicity, despite the recommendations of the UN and European Commission. However, the available data indicate that one of the largest gaps in health outcomes between the general population and Roma is in mental health with Roma experiencing a significantly higher incidence of mental health challenges. While mental health is receiving increased attention on the global stage, the predominant approach remains focused on a traditional bio-medical, disease model despite growing evidence that the social, economic, cultural, legal, and political environment in which a person lives are key sources of an individual’s mental health and well-being.  

Eligibility Criteria

A consortium of nongovernmental organizations with a lead organization identified, that meet the following criteria are eligible to apply:

  1. experience working on mental health outcomes of Roma and/or other vulnerable groups;
  2. experience recognizing ethnic discrimination and racism as factors determining mental health experience of Roma; and
  3. experience recognizing the crucial impact of social determinants on mental health, and implementation of nonmedical approaches.  

Potential consortiums should consist of a range of partners, such as Roma civil society, academics and other experts, civil society providing psychosocial support with vulnerable populations, and professional psychologists and social workers.

Purpose and Priorities

The purpose of this open call is to identify two to three consortiums of civil society organizations that will outline their approach to undertake the following activities:

  • review available evidence and literature on Roma and mental health, including social determinants of mental health;
  • conduct relevant law and policy analyses;
  • map relevant stakeholders working in the field; and
  • outline a proposed strategy to advance this field of work.

Following the selection process, the successful consortiums will be invited to submit full project proposals to implement the work. Instructions on that application process will be sent following approval of concept notes.


Please submit a concept paper of no more than two pages through the Open Society Foundations Grant Portal. Concept notes should identify the organizations, individual experts and practitioners, and the lead organization of the consortium; briefly outline how the consortium would conduct the required activities, and include a budget outline. The paper should be in English and the budget in U.S. dollars.  

The implementation period should not exceed six months, from the time the funding is received to the completion of the final report. The project should be completed by February 2020. 

The maximum grant size is $50,000 USD.

Submission Deadline:

Concept forms must be received by May 31, 2019, at 23:59 EST. Late submissions will not be accepted.

Questions about concept notes or the submission process may be directed to

Filter by:
Showing 0 grantees
Filter by
Filter by:
Showing 0 grantees
Filter by

Subscribe to updates about new grant opportunities