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Despite significant advancements in healthcare technology, digital health solutions – especially those for serious mental illnesses – continue to fall short of their potential across both clinical practice and efficacy. The utility and impact of medicine, including digital medicine, hinges on relationships, trust, and engagement, particularly in the field of mental health. This paper details results from Phase 1 of a two-part study that seeks to engage people with schizophrenia, their family members, and clinicians in co-designing a digital mental health platform for use across different cultures and contexts in the United States and India.
Each site interviewed a mix of clinicians, patients, and their family members in focus groups (n = 20) of two to six participants. Open-ended questions and discussions inquired about their own smartphone use and, after a demonstration of the mindLAMP platform, specific feedback on the app's utility, design, and functionality.
Our results based on thematic analysis indicate three common themes: increased use and interest in technology during coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), concerns over how data are used and shared, and a desire for concurrent human interaction to support app engagement.
People with schizophrenia, their family members, and clinicians are open to integrating technology into treatment to better understand their condition and help inform treatment. However, app engagement is dependent on technology that is complementary – not substitutive – of therapeutic care from a clinician.
The PRogramme for Improving Mental health care (PRIME) designed, implemented and evaluated a comprehensive mental healthcare plan (MHCP) for Sehore district, Madhya Pradesh, India.
To provide quantitative measures of outputs related to implementation processes, describe the role of contextual factors that facilitated and impeded implementation processes, and discuss what has been learned from the MHCP implementation.
A convergent parallel mixed-methods design was used. The quantitative strand consisted of process data on mental health indicators whereas the qualitative strand consisted of in-depth interviews and focus group discussions with key stakeholders involved in PRIME implementation.
The implementation of the MHCP in Sehore district in Madhya Pradesh, India, demonstrated that it is feasible to establish structures (for example Mann-Kaksha) and operationalise processes to integrate mental health services in a ‘real-world’ low-resource primary care setting. The key lessons can be summarised as: (a) clear ‘process maps’ of clinical interventions and implementation steps are helpful in monitoring/tracking the progress; (b) implementation support from an external team, in addition to training of service providers, is essential to provide clinical supervision and address the implementation barriers; (c) the enabling packages of the MHCP play a crucial role in strengthening the health system and improving the context/settings for implementation; and (d) engagement with key community stakeholders and incentives for community health workers are necessary to deliver services at the community-platform level.
The PRIME implementation model could be used to scale-up mental health services across India and similar low-resource settings.
Declaration of interest
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