International Individual Consultancy for a Comprehensive Study on School Related Factors Impacting Mental Health and Well-being of Adolescent Boys and Girls in Viet Nam



Contract type: Consultancy
Level: Consultancy
Location: Viet Nam
Categories: Education, Consultancy

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. To save their lives. To defend their rights. To help them fulfill their potential.

UNICEF Viet Nam is one of more than 190 offices of the United Nations Children’s Fund globally and part of the United Nations system in Viet Nam working in close collaboration with all UN agencies in the country. Guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF has a universal mandate to promote and protect the rights of all children, everywhere – especially those hardest to serve and most at risk.

UNICEF’s mission in Viet Nam is to make sure every child in the country is healthy, educated and safe from harm, therefore having the best start in life and a fair chance to reach her or his full potential and benefit from the country’s prosperity. We believe children have a right to live in a more equitable society, where their voices are heard and needs met as a matter of priority in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. More information on what we do in Viet Nam is available at


Recent data on the burden of mental disorders worldwide demonstrates that mental ill health is a major public health problem that affects people and individuals at all ages. In Viet Nam, mental health and psychological problems are widespread and increasing in prevalence among adolescents. A UNICEF Viet Nam study (2018) shows that the prevalence of general mental health problems in Viet Nam ranges from 8% to 29% for adolescents[1].

School related factors, such as socio-emotional and physical safetyconnectedness to schoolsrelationship between teachers and students and among peerscapacity of teachers and learning environment, are reported to be one of the key factors impacting the mental health and wellbeing of adolescent boys and girls. School related factors influence the risk of exposure of adolescents to depressive symptoms, anxiety, violence, and bullying/mobbing, but they also serve as an opportunity to contribute to better mental health development of adolescents. In additions, academic pressure, which is the mental distress with respect to some anticipated frustration associated with academic failure or awareness of the possibility of such failure[2], is increasingly prevalent. Social norms such as the context of Confucian influence with Viet Nam’s progressing economic and social conditions have placed significant academic expectations and demands on adolescents. High expectations of their own performance are often exacerbated by peer and sibling competition and family pressure to achieve academically. Girls in particular bemoan parental pressure to perform and negative gender stereotypes of girls being less suited to science and mathematics. Older girls are also reported to experience more pressure to take on domestic work than boys. Apart from parental expectations and social norms, the content or organization of learning such as overloaded curriculum, rigid assessment criteria, high stake exams also contribute to the increasing academic pressure of adolescent boys and girls.

In Viet Nam, the provision of mental health and psycho-social services falls within the remit of a few ministries, including the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), and the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET). Each Ministry has a different paradigm of administration, with different areas of responsibility, roles and functions, and has their own programmes and models for dealing with mental health and psychosocial issues. However, there is a need for a multitiered mental health services providing primary, secondary and tertiary interventions for which different sector play different roles in the delivery. Currently, there is a lack of coordination between sectors and tiers in the provision of services as well as quality and gender-responsive services and human resources needed for the care and treatment of psycho-social distress. Stigma around mental health disorders and lack of awareness of mental health and psychosocial related issues as well as limited knowledge of the availability of existing mental health services also hinder practices in seeking for qualified help. In additions, the current service delivery is mainly targeting a limited group of people with severe mental disorders and pays relatively little attention to the provision of services for adolescents’ mental health and for those in psycho-social distress.

The Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) in Viet Nam has attempted to address the issue by providing support to adolescents through life-skills training, counselling units, and in some instances development of parenting skills. However, teachers’ heavy workloads and the lack of required skills for supporting adolescents with mental health issues impact their ability to provide counselling and the quality of counselling units.

Recently, mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of adolescents has also been significantly impacted by COVID-19. Restricted movement, closure of schools, physical and social distancing, and in some instances, increased violence and abuse in the home and online world, as well as fear of contracting the disease are impacting adolescent’s learning, behaviour, and healthy development. The socio-emotional and mental health impacts of COVID-19 as well as indirect impacts of disease control and prevention have deeply affected parents and caregivers, teachers and adolescents – resulting in often increased stress and anxiety. Major disruptions to their daily lives, increased isolation, missed opportunities and resources and multidimensional disruptions affecting adolescents and family welfare all have consequences on mental health and on a adolescents’ psycho-social wellbeing and future development.

To address this with a focus on the education sector and as a follow-up action of the UNICEF study on “Mental Health and Psychosocial Wellbeing among Children and Young People in Viet Nam”, UNICEF Viet Nam seeks to take a deep dive into school-related factors to better understand school related factors, including risk and protective factors, impacting mental health and well-being of adolescent boys and girls in Viet Nam. It will also explore the role of the education system in reducing stress and anxiety of adolescents and enhancing the social emotional skills they need to succeed in life. The research findings and recommendations will form the basis of future guidelines to strengthen the work of UNICEF Viet Nam and partners in their programme design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation. For this effort, UNICEF Viet Nam is seeking the support of an international consultant who has technical expertise in the research and analysis of mental health and psychological wellbeing of adolescents to address this complex and multi-layered issue under the context of Viet Nam.

Purpose, Objective and Scope of Study:

The main objective of this assignment is to conduct an in-depth analysis to understand the school-related factors affecting the mental health and well0being of adolescent boys and girls and the role of education system in addressing both school related risks and the delivery of MHPSS with new evidence generated in Viet Nam. Based on the evidence, the study will provide age-disaggregated and gender-sensitive recommendations on what and how the education system could, in parallel, be utilized and strengthened to address increasing mental health and psychosocial needs of younger and older adolescent boys and girls.

More specifically, the paper will need to:

  • Provide an overview of available evidence and analysis of i) the situation of mental health problems of adolescence in Viet Nam, using the latest available data and ii) school related factors affecting mental health issues of adolescents in Viet Nam and iii) taking stock of the key stakeholders, policies, legislations, standards and programme relating to mental health and well-being among adolescents in Viet Nam.
  • Undertake an in-depth analysis of key school related risk factors and their impacts on mental health and psychological wellbeing of adolescent boys and girls in Viet Nam with new qualitative and quantitative evidence generated.
  • Map existing policies and schools’ strategies and actions in recognizing, mitigating and addressing mental health issues of adolescents in and outside school.
  • Examine the effectiveness of existing policies, systems and human resources and their limitations.
  • Suggest recommendations and action plans on the role of education system in the provision of MHPSS and how the education system can mitigate and prevent school related mental health risks to promote positive mental health as well as prevent mental ill health. Consider different modalities for reaching younger and older adolescents.
  • Provide disaggregated data and analysis from gender lenses, and considering income, geographical, ethnicity, age and disability disparities, whenever applicable.

Methodological approach:

The international consultant is expected to work from distance and conduct research on the existing school related factors through a desk review of secondary data including literature, documents and programme reports as well as sub-contracting a national Vietnamese consultant for conducting a combination of qualitative and quantitative research with primary data and evidence through key informant interviews, focus group discussions and questionnaire, whichever applicable, with government officials, teachers, parents and adolescents in selected localities.

The consultant is required to sub-contract any necessary Vietnamese expertise to support the consultancy (e.g. hiring a national consultant), given that the international consultant will not be travelling to Viet Nam. As such, the International Consultant will be fully responsible for recruitment and payment of the National Consultant and be fully responsible for all negotiations, decisions and deliverables.

Expected deliverables and timeline: as per the attached TOR Download File School-related factors and mental health of adolescents.docx

Management and Reporting: 

The assignment will be undertaken under the supervision of the Chief of Education Programme with the support of substantive inputs and support from all the members of UNICEF Viet Nam’s working group on adolescent’s development and participation. Education section will support liaison and coordination with interviewees and stakeholders.

Performance indicators for evaluation:

  • Quality of deliverables meet the standards set by UNICEF and specifications outlined in the contract.
  • Deliverables are submitted in a timely manner as indicated in the contract.
  • Technical assistance delivered in a contextualized and tactful manner, drawing on the inputs of the partners.
  • Performance evaluation will be completed at the end of the assignment. 

Qualification/Specialized Knowledge and Experience: 

Qualifications and Experience

  • Advanced University degree in social sciences, psychology, childhood studies, education or other relevant areas. Candidates with doctorate level degrees will be an asset.
  • At least 10 years of solid professional work experience at the national and international levels with focus on adolescent mental health and psychosocial wellbeing analysis.

Knowledge and Skills

  • Demonstrated ability to produce high quality analytical reports.
  • Understanding of the Vietnamese context in relation to mental health and/or education is an asset.


  • Knowledge and experience of UNICEF programmes of cooperation and the human rights-based approach to programming. Prior experience working with UN/UNICEF will be an asset.


  • Excellent writing skills in English language.

For every Child, you demonstrate UNICEF’s values of Care, Respect, Integrity, Trust, and Accountability (CRITA) and core competencies in Communication, Working with People and Drive for Results.

Assessment criteria: 

For evaluation and selection method, the Cumulative Analysis Method (weight combined score method) shall be used for this recruitment:

a) Technical Qualification (max. 100 points) weight 70 %

  • Qualifications and Experience (35 points)
  • Knowledge and Skills (35 points)
  • Competencies (20 points)
  • Languages (10 points) 

b) Financial Proposal (max. 100 points) weight 30 %

The maximum number of points shall be allotted to the lowest Financial Proposal that is opened /evaluated and compared among those technical qualified candidates who have attained a minimum 70 points score in the technical evaluation. Other Financial Proposals will receive points in inverse proportion to the lowest price.

The Contract shall be awarded to candidate obtaining the highest combined technical and financial scores, subject to the satisfactory result of the verification interview if needed. 

Submission of applications:

Interested candidates are kindly requested to apply and upload the following documents to the assigned requisition in UNICEF Vacancies:

  1. Letter of interest and confirmation of availability.
  2. Technical proposal which clearly explains the outline on how to deliver the tasks and deliverables (preferably less than 2 pages);
  3. Performance evaluation reports or references of similar consultancy assignments (if available)
  4. Financial proposal: All-inclusive lump-sum cost including consultancy fee, travel and accommodation cost for this assignment as per work assignment.
  5. CV/P11 form (UN Personal History Form)

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