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Because of the high burden of untreated mental illness in humanitarian settings and low- and middle-income countries, scaling-up effective psychological interventions require a cultural adaptation process that is feasible and acceptable. Our adaptation process incorporates changes into both content and implementation strategies, with a focus on local understandings of distress and treatment mechanisms of action.
Building upon the ecological validity model, we developed a 10-step process, the mental health Cultural Adaptation and Contextualization for Implementation (mhCACI) procedure, and piloted this approach in Nepal for Group Problem Management Plus (PM+), a task-sharing intervention, proven effective for adults with psychological distress in low-resource settings. Detailed documentation tools were used to ensure rigor and transparency during the adaptation process.
The mhCACI is a 10-step process: (1) identify mechanisms of action, (2) conduct a literature desk review for the culture and context, (3) conduct a training-of-trainers, (4) translate intervention materials, (5) conduct an expert read-through of the materials, (6) qualitative assessment of intervention population and site, (7) conduct practice rounds, (8) conduct an adaptation workshop with experts and implementers, (9) pilot test the training, supervision, and implementation, and (10) review through process evaluation. For Group PM+, key adaptations were harmonizing the mechanisms of action with cultural models of ‘tension’; modification of recruitment procedures to assure fit; and development of a skills checklist.
A 10-step mhCACI process could feasibly be implemented in a humanitarian setting to rapidly prepare a psychological intervention for widespread implementation.
Potential effectiveness of harvest weed seed control (HWSC) systems depends upon seed shatter of the target weed species at crop maturity, enabling its collection and processing at crop harvest. However, seed retention likely is influenced by agroecological and environmental factors. In 2016 and 2017, we assessed seed-shatter phenology in 13 economically important broadleaf weed species in soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] from crop physiological maturity to 4 wk after physiological maturity at multiple sites spread across 14 states in the southern, northern, and mid-Atlantic United States. Greater proportions of seeds were retained by weeds in southern latitudes and shatter rate increased at northern latitudes. Amaranthus spp. seed shatter was low (0% to 2%), whereas shatter varied widely in common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.) (2% to 90%) over the weeks following soybean physiological maturity. Overall, the broadleaf species studied shattered less than 10% of their seeds by soybean harvest. Our results suggest that some of the broadleaf species with greater seed retention rates in the weeks following soybean physiological maturity may be good candidates for HWSC.
Seed shatter is an important weediness trait on which the efficacy of harvest weed seed control (HWSC) depends. The level of seed shatter in a species is likely influenced by agroecological and environmental factors. In 2016 and 2017, we assessed seed shatter of eight economically important grass weed species in soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] from crop physiological maturity to 4 wk after maturity at multiple sites spread across 11 states in the southern, northern, and mid-Atlantic United States. From soybean maturity to 4 wk after maturity, cumulative percent seed shatter was lowest in the southern U.S. regions and increased moving north through the states. At soybean maturity, the percent of seed shatter ranged from 1% to 70%. That range had shifted to 5% to 100% (mean: 42%) by 25 d after soybean maturity. There were considerable differences in seed-shatter onset and rate of progression between sites and years in some species that could impact their susceptibility to HWSC. Our results suggest that many summer annual grass species are likely not ideal candidates for HWSC, although HWSC could substantially reduce their seed output during certain years.
The PRogramme for Improving Mental Health carE (PRIME) evaluated the process and outcomes of the implementation of a mental healthcare plan (MHCP) in Chitwan, Nepal.
To describe the process of implementation, the barriers and facilitating factors, and to evaluate the process indicators of the MHCP.
A case study design that combined qualitative and quantitative methods based on a programme theory of change (ToC) was used and included: (a) district-, community- and health-facility profiles; (b) monthly implementation logs; (c) pre- and post-training evaluation; (d) out-patient clinical data and (e) qualitative interviews with patients and caregivers.
The MHCP was able to achieve most of the indicators outlined by the ToC. Of the total 32 indicators, 21 (66%) were fully achieved, 10 (31%) partially achieved and 1 (3%) were not achieved at all. The proportion of primary care patients that received mental health services increased by 1200% over the 3-year implementation period. Major barriers included frequent transfer of trained health workers, lack of confidential space for consultation, no mental health supervision in the existing system, and stigma. Involvement of Ministry of Health, procurement of new psychotropic medicines through PRIME, motivation of health workers and the development of a new supervision system were key facilitating factors.
Effective implementation of mental health services in primary care settings require interventions to increase demand for services and to ensure there is clinical supervision for health workers, private rooms for consultations, a separate cadre of psychosocial workers and a regular supply of psychotropic medicines.
Despite recent global attention to mental health and psychosocial support services and a growing body of evidence-support interventions, few mental health services have been established at a regional or national scale in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). There are myriad challenges and barriers ranging from testing interventions that do not target priority needs of populations or policymakers to interventions that cannot achieve adequate coverage to decrease the treatment gap in LMIC.
We propose a ‘roadmap to impact’ process that guides planning for interventions to move from the research space to the implementation space.
We establish four criteria and nine associated indicators that can be evaluated in low-resource settings to foster the greatest likelihood of successfully scaling mental health and psychosocial interventions. The criteria are relevance (indicators: population need, cultural and contextual fit), effectiveness (change in mental health outcome, change in hypothesised mechanism of action), quality (adherence, competence, attendance) and feasibility (coverage, cost). In the research space, relevance and effectiveness need to be established before moving into the implementation space. In the implementation space, ongoing monitoring of quality and feasibility is required to achieve and maintain a positive public health impact. Ultimately, a database or repository needs to be developed with these criteria and indicators to help researchers establish and monitor minimum benchmarks for the indicators, and for policymakers and practitioners to be able to select what interventions will be most likely to succeed in their settings.
A practicable roadmap with a sequence of measurable indicators is an important step to delivering interventions at scale and reducing the mental health treatment gap around the world.
Current coverage of mental healthcare in low- and middle-income countries is very limited, not only in terms of access to services but also in terms of financial protection of individuals in need of care and treatment.
To identify the challenges, opportunities and strategies for more equitable and sustainable mental health financing in six sub-Saharan African and South Asian countries, namely Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda.
In the context of a mental health systems research project (Emerald), a multi-methods approach was implemented consisting of three steps: a quantitative and narrative assessment of each country's disease burden profile, health system and macro-fiscal situation; in-depth interviews with expert stakeholders; and a policy analysis of sustainable financing options.
Key challenges identified for sustainable mental health financing include the low level of funding accorded to mental health services, widespread inequalities in access and poverty, although opportunities exist in the form of new political interest in mental health and ongoing reforms to national insurance schemes. Inclusion of mental health within planned or nascent national health insurance schemes was identified as a key strategy for moving towards more equitable and sustainable mental health financing in all six countries.
Including mental health in ongoing national health insurance reforms represent the most important strategic opportunity in the six participating countries to secure enhanced service provision and financial protection for individuals and households affected by mental disorders and psychosocial disabilities.
Declaration of interest
D.C. is a staff member of the World Health Organization.
Little is known about the household economic costs associated with mental, neurological and substance use (MNS) disorders in low- and middle-income countries.
To assess the association between MNS disorders and household education, consumption, production, assets and financial coping strategies in Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda.
We conducted an exploratory cross-sectional household survey in one district in each country, comparing the economic circumstances of households with an MNS disorder (alcohol-use disorder, depression, epilepsy or psychosis) (n = 2339) and control households (n = 1982).
Despite some heterogeneity between MNS disorder groups and countries, households with a member with an MNS disorder had generally lower levels of adult education; lower housing standards, total household income, effective income and non-health consumption; less asset-based wealth; higher healthcare expenditure; and greater use of deleterious financial coping strategies.
Households living with a member who has an MNS disorder constitute an economically vulnerable group who are susceptible to chronic poverty and intergenerational poverty transmission.
Declaration of interest
D.C. is a staff member of the World Health Organization. The authors alone are responsible for the views expressed in this publication and they do not necessarily represent the decisions, policy or views of the World Health Organization.
Evidence shows benefits of psychological treatments in low-resource countries, yet few government health systems include psychological services.
Evaluating the clinical value of adding psychological treatments, delivered by community-based counsellors, to primary care-based mental health services for depression and alcohol use disorder (AUD), as recommended by the Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP).
Two randomised controlled trials, separately for depression and AUD, were carried out. Participants were randomly allocated (1:1) to mental healthcare delivered by mhGAP-trained primary care workers (psychoeducation and psychotropic medicines when indicated), or the same services plus individual psychological treatments (Healthy Activity Program for depression and Counselling for Alcohol Problems). Primary outcomes were symptom severity, measured using the Patient Health Questionnaire – 9 item (PHQ-9) for depression and the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test for AUD, and functional impairment, measured using the World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule (WHODAS), at 12 months post-enrolment.
Participants with depression in the intervention arm (n = 60) had greater reduction in PHQ-9 and WHODAS scores compared with participants in the control (n = 60) (PHQ-9: M = −5.90, 95% CI −7.55 to −4.25, β = −3.68, 95% CI −5.68 to −1.67, P < 0.001, Cohen's d = 0.66; WHODAS: M = −12.21, 95% CI −19.58 to −4.84, β = −10.74, 95% CI −19.96 to −1.53, P= 0.022, Cohen's d = 0.42). For the AUD trial, no significant effect was found when comparing control (n = 80) and intervention participants (n = 82).
Adding a psychological treatment delivered by community-based counsellors increases treatment effects for depression compared with only mhGAP-based services by primary health workers 12 months post-treatment.
We examine how organizational form affects corporate payouts. Conglomerates pay out more than pure plays in both cash dividends and total payouts (cash dividends plus share repurchases). Furthermore, their payouts are more sensitive to cash flows compared to pure-play firms. The sensitivity of payouts to cash flow increases as the cross-segment correlation in a conglomerate decreases. Corporate payouts increase after mergers and acquisitions (M&As), especially among M&As in which acquirers and targets are less correlated. These results suggest that the coinsurance among different divisions of a conglomerate allows them to pay out more cash flow to their shareholders than pure-play firms.
Reducing the global treatment gap for mental disorders requires treatments that are economical, effective and culturally appropriate.
To describe a systematic approach to the development of a brief psychological treatment for patients with severe depression delivered by lay counsellors in primary healthcare.
The treatment was developed in three stages using a variety of methods: (a) identifying potential strategies; (b) developing a theoretical framework; and (c) evaluating the acceptability, feasibility and effectiveness of the psychological treatment.
The Healthy Activity Program (HAP) is delivered over 6–8 sessions and consists of behavioral activation as the core psychological framework with added emphasis on strategies such as problem-solving and activation of social networks. Key elements to improve acceptability and feasibility are also included. In an intention-to-treat analysis of a pilot randomised controlled trial (55 participants), the prevalence of depression (Beck Depression Inventory II ⩾19) after 2 months was lower in the HAP than the control arm (adjusted risk ratio = 0.55, 95% CI 0.32–0.94, P = 0.01).
Our systematic approach to the development of psychological treatments could be extended to other mental disorders. HAP is an acceptable and effective brief psychological treatment for severe depression delivered by lay counsellors in primary care.
There is little practical guidance on how contextually relevant mental healthcare plans (MHCPs) can be developed in low-resource settings.
To describe how theory of change (ToC) was used to plan the development and evaluation of MHCPs as part of the PRogramme for Improving Mental health carE (PRIME).
ToC development occurred in three stages: (a) development of a cross-country ToC by 15 PRIME consortium members; (b) development of country-specific ToCs in 13 workshops with a median of 15 (interquartile range 13–22) stakeholders per workshop; and (c) review and refinement of the cross-country ToC by 18 PRIME consortium members.
One cross-country and five district ToCs were developed that outlined the steps required to improve outcomes for people with mental disorders in PRIME districts.
ToC is a valuable participatory method that can be used to develop MHCPs and plan their evaluation.
Few studies have evaluated the implementation and impact of real-world mental health programmes delivered at scale in low-resource settings.
To describe the cross-country research methods used to evaluate district-level mental healthcare plans (MHCPs) in Ethiopia, India, Nepal, South Africa and Uganda.
Multidisciplinary methods conducted at community, health facility and district levels, embedded within a theory of change.
The following designs are employed to evaluate the MHCPs: (a) repeat community-based cross-sectional surveys to measure change in population-level contact coverage; (b) repeat facility-based surveys to assess change in detection of disorders; (c) disorder-specific cohorts to assess the effect on patient outcomes; and (d) multilevel case studies to evaluate the process of implementation.
To evaluate whether and how a health-system-level intervention is effective, multidisciplinary research methods are required at different population levels. Although challenging, such methods may be replicated across diverse settings.
Accurate detection of persons in need of mental healthcare is crucial to
reduce the treatment gap between psychiatric burden and service use in
low- and middle-income (LAMI) countries.
To evaluate the accuracy of a community-based proactive case-finding
strategy (Community Informant Detection Tool, CIDT), involving pictorial
vignettes, designed to initiate pathways for mental health treatment in
primary care settings.
Community informants using the CIDT identified screen positive
(n = 110) and negative persons (n =
85). Participants were then administered the Composite International
Diagnostic Interview (CIDI).
The CIDT has a positive predictive value of 0.64 (0.68 for adults only)
and a negative predictive value of 0.93 (0.91 for adults only).
The CIDT has promising detection properties for psychiatric caseness.
Further research should investigate its potential to increase demand for,
and access to, mental health services.
Proton transfer reaction-mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) offers many advantages for trace gas analysis, including no sample preparation, real-time analysis, high selectivity and sensitivity, ultra-low detection limits and very short response times. These characteristic features have made it an ideal tool for many applications in science, technology and society. Here we will discuss recent developments, in particular advances concerning sensitivity, selectivity and general applicability.