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Strengthening of mental health systems in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) requires the involvement of appropriately skilled and committed individuals from a range of stakeholder groups. Currently, few evidence-based capacity-building activities and materials are available to enable and sustain comprehensive improvements.
Within the Emerald project, the goal of this study was to evaluate capacity-building activities for three target groups: (a) service users with mental health conditions and their caregivers; (b) policymakers and planners; and (c) mental health researchers.
We developed and tailored three short courses (between 1 and 5 days long). We then implemented and evaluated these short courses on 24 different occasions. We assessed satisfaction among 527 course participants as well as pre–post changes in knowledge in six LMICs (Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda). Changes in research capacity of partner Emerald institutions was also assessed through monitoring of academic outputs of participating researchers and students and via anonymous surveys.
Short courses were associated with high levels of satisfaction and led to improvements in knowledge across target groups. In relation to institutional capacity building, all partner institutions reported improvements in research capacity for most aspects of mental health system strengthening and global mental health, and many of these positive changes were attributed to the Emerald programme. In terms of outputs, eight PhD students submitted a total of 10 papers relating to their PhD work (range 0–4) and were involved in 14 grant applications, of which 43% (n = 6) were successful.
The Emerald project has shown that building capacity of key stakeholders in mental health system strengthening is possible. However, the starting point and appropriate strategies for this may vary across different countries, depending on the local context, needs and resources.
Continuous population aging has raised international policy interest in promoting active aging (AA). AA theoretical models have been defined from a biomedical or a psychosocial perspective. These models may be expanded including components suggested by lay individuals. This paper aims to study the correlates of AA in three European countries, namely, Spain, Poland, and Finland using four different definitions of AA.
The EU COURAGE in Europe project was a cross-sectional general adult population survey conducted in a representative sample of the noninstitutionalized population of Finland, Poland, and Spain. Participants (10,800) lived in the community. This analysis focuses on individuals aged 50 years old and over (7,987). Four definitions (two biomedical, one psychosocial, and a complete definition including biomedical, psychosocial, and external variables) of AA were analyzed.
Differences in AA were found for country, age, education, and occupation. Finland scored consistently the highest in AA followed by Spain and Poland. Younger age was associated with higher AA. Higher education and occupation was associated with AA. Being married or cohabiting was associated with better AA compared to being widowed or separated in most definitions. Gender and urbanicity were not associated with AA, with few exceptions. Men scored higher in AA only in Spain, whereas there was no gender association in the other two countries. Being widowed was only associated with lower AA in Poland and not being married was associated with lower AA in Poland and Finland but not Spain.
Associations with education, marital status, and occupation suggest that these factors are the most important components of AA. These association patterns, however, seem to vary across the three countries. Actions to promote AA in these countries may be addressed at reducing inequalities in occupation and education or directly tackling the components of AA lacking in each country.
Very few studies have examined the cross-national prevalence of suicidal
ideation in the general population or variables associated with it.
To examine the risk factors for suicidal ideas in the general
As part of a five-country two stage epidemiological study of depressive
disorder (the ODIN study) a random sample of over 12 000 people were
screened using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). There followed
detailed analysis of item 9 of the BDI, which measured the severity of
Age, marriage, concern by others and severity of depressed mood
independently increased or decreased the odds of suicidal ideation
overall. An interaction between life events and social supports was
identified, although this differed between men and women. Only concern by
others and severity of depression were independently associated with
serious suicidal ideation. The study does not allow for interpretation of
the direction of the association.
A number of social, clinical and demographic variables were independently
associated with all suicidal ideation and with serious suicidal ideation.
Longitudinal studies are required to confirm whether these are risk
factors for or the result of suicidal ideation or have some other
Little is known about patterns of healthcare use by people with
depression in Europe.
To examine the use and cost of services by adults with depressive or
adjustment disorders in five European countries, and predictive
People aged 18–65 years with depressive or adjustment disorders
(n=427) in Ireland, Finland, Norway, Spain and the UK
provided information on predisposition (demographics, social support),
enablement (country, urban/rural, social function) and need (symptom
severity, perceived health status) for services. Outcome measures were
self-reported use Client Services Receipt Interview and costs of general
practice, generic, psychiatric or social services in the past 6
Less frequent use was made of generic services in Norway and psychiatric
services in the UK. Severity of depression, perceived health status,
social functioning and level of social support were significant
predictors of use; the number of people able to provide support was
positively associated with greater health service use.
Individual participant factors provided greater explanatory power than
national differences in healthcare delivery. The association between
social support and service use suggests that interventions may be needed
for those who lack social support.
Bipolar disorder has been ranked seventh among the worldwide causes of non-fatal disease burden.
To estimate the cost-effectiveness of interventions for reducing the global burden of bipolar disorder.
Hospital-and community-based delivery of two generic mood stabilisers (lithium and valproic acid), alone and in combination with psychosocial treatment, were modelled for 14 global sub-regions. A population model was employed to estimate the impact of different strategies, relative to no intervention. Total costs (in international dollars (I$)) and effectiveness (disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) averted) were combined to form cost-effectiveness ratios.
Baseline results showed lithium to be no more costly yet more effective than valproic acid, assuming an anti-suicidal effect for lithium but not for valproic acid. Community-based treatment with lithium and psychosocial care was most cost-effective (cost per DALY averted: I$2165–6475 in developing sub-regions; I$5487–21123 in developed sub-regions).
Community-based interventions for bipolar disorder were estimated to be more efficient than hospital-based services, each DALY averted costing between one and three times average gross national income.
International evidence on the cost and effects of interventions for reducing the global burden of depression remain scarce.
To estimate the population-level cost-effectiveness of evidence-based depression interventions and their contribution towards reducing current burden.
Primary-care-based depression interventions were modelled at the level of whole populations in 14 epidemiological subregions of the world. Total population-level costs (in international dollars or I) and effectiveness (disability adjusted life years (DALYs) averted) were combined to form average and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios.
Evaluated interventions have the potential to reduce the current burden of depression by 10–30%. Pharmacotherapy with older antidepressant drugs, with or without proactive collaborative care, are currently more cost-effective strategies than those using newer antidepressants, particularly in lower-income subregions.
Even in resource-poor regions, each DALYaverted by efficient depression treatments in primary care costs less than 1 year of average per capita income, making such interventions a cost-effective use of health resources. However, current levels of burden can only be reduced significantly if there is a substantial increase in treatment coverage.
This is the first report on the epidemiology of depressive disorders from the European Outcome of Depression International Network (ODIN) study.
To assess the prevalence of depressive disorders in randomly selected samples of the general population in five European countries.
The study was designed as a cross-sectional two-phase community study using the Beck Depression Inventory during Phase 1, and the Schedule for Clinical Assessment in Neuropsychiatry during Phase 2.
An analysis of the combined sample (n=8.764) gave an overall prevalence of depressive disorders of 8.56% (95% Cl 7.05–10.37). The figures were 10.05% (95% Cl 7.80–12.85) for women and 6.61% (95% Cl 4.92–8.83) for men. The centres fall into three categories: high prevalence (urban Ireland and urban UK), low prevalence (urban Spain) and medium prevalence (the remaining sites).
Depressive disorder is a highly prevalent condition in Europe. The major finding is the wide difference in the prevalence of depressive disorders found across the study sites.
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