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We evaluated the effectiveness of community-based rehabilitation (CBR) in reducing depressive symptoms, alcohol use disorder, food insecurity and underweight in people with schizophrenia. This cluster-randomised controlled trial was conducted in a rural district of Ethiopia. Fifty-four sub-districts were allocated in a 1:1 ratio to the facility-based care [FBC] plus CBR arm and the FBC alone arm. Lay workers delivered CBR over 12 months. We assessed food insecurity (self-reported hunger), underweight (BMI< 18.5 kg/m2), depressive symptoms (PHQ-9) and alcohol use disorder (AUDIT ≥ 8) at 6 and 12 months. Seventy-nine participants with schizophrenia in 24 sub-districts were assigned to CBR plus FBC and 87 participants in 24 sub-districts were assigned to FBC only. There was no evidence of an intervention effect on food insecurity (aOR 0.52, 95% CI 0.16–1.67; p = 0.27), underweight (aOR 0.44, 95% CI 0.17–1.12; p = 0.08), alcohol use disorder (aOR 0.82, 95% CI 0.24–2.74; p = 0.74) or depressive symptoms (adjusted mean difference − 0.06, 95% CI −1.35, 1.22; p = 0.92). Psychosocial interventions in low-resource settings should support access to treatment amongst people with schizophrenia, and further research should explore how impacts on economic, physical and mental health outcomes can be achieved.
In low-resource settings, e-mental health may substantially increase access to evidence-based interventions for common mental disorders. We conducted a systematic literature search to identify randomised trials examining the effects of digital interventions with or without therapeutic guidance compared to control conditions in individuals with anxiety and/or depression symptoms in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
The main outcome was the reduction in symptoms at the post-test. Secondary outcomes included improvements in quality of life and longer-term effects (≥20 weeks post-randomisation). The effect size Hedges’ g was calculated using the random effects model.
A total of 21 studies (23 comparisons) with 5.296 participants were included. Digital interventions were more effective than controls in reducing symptoms of common mental disorders at the post-test (g = −0.89, 95% confidence interval [CI] −1.26 to −0.52, p < 0.001; NNT = 2.91). These significant effects were confirmed when examining depressive (g = −0.77, 95% CI −1.11; −0.44) and anxiety symptoms separately (g = −1.02, 95% CI −1.53 to −0.52) and across all other sensitivity analyses. Digital interventions also resulted in a small but significant effect in improving quality of life (g = 0.32, 95% CI 0.19 to 0.45) at the post-test. Over the longer term, the effects were smaller but remained significant for all examined outcomes. Heterogeneity was moderate to high in all analyses. Subgroup and meta-regression analyses did not result in significant outcomes in any of the examined variables (e.g., guided vs. unguided interventions).
Digital interventions, with or without guidance, may effectively bridge the gap between treatment supply and demand in LMICs. Nevertheless, more studies are needed to draw firm conclusions regarding the magnitude of the effects of digital interventions.
Mental health service delivery needs radical reimagination in the United States where unmet needs for care remain large and most metrics on the burden of mental health problems have worsened, despite significant numbers of mental health professionals, spending on service provision and research. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the need for mental health care. One path to a radical reimagination is “Community Initiated Care (CIC)” which equips and empowers communities to address by providing brief psychosocial interventions by people in community settings. We co-developed a theory of change (ToC) for CIC with 24 stakeholders including representatives from community-based, advocacy, philanthropic and faith-based organizations to understand how CIC could be developed and adapted for specific contexts. We present a ToC which describes ways in which the CIC initiative can promote and strengthen mental health in communities in the United States with respect to community organization and leadership; community care and inclusion and normalizing mental health. We propose 10 strategies as part of CIC and propose a way forward for implementation and evaluation. This CIC model is a local, tailored approach which can expand the role of community members to strengthen our response to mental health needs in the United States.
‘POD Adventures’ is a gamified problem-solving intervention delivered via smartphone app, and supported by non-specialist counsellors for a target population of secondary school students in India during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of undertaking a randomised controlled trial of POD Adventures when delivered online with telephone support from counsellors.
We conducted a parallel, two-arm, individually randomised pilot-controlled trial with 11 secondary schools in Goa, India. Participants received either the POD Adventures intervention delivered over 4 weeks or usual care comprising information about local mental health services and national helplines. Outcomes were assessed at two timepoints: baseline and 6 weeks post-randomisation.
Seventy-nine classroom sensitisation sessions reaching a total of 1575 students were conducted. Ninety-two self-initiated study referrals (5.8%) were received, but only 11 participants enrolled in the study. No intervention arm participants completed the intervention. Outcomes at 6 weeks were not available for intervention arm participants (n = 5), and only four control arm participants completed outcomes. No qualitative interviews or participant satisfaction measures were completed because participants could not be reached by the study team.
Despite modifications to address barriers arising from COVID-19 restrictions, online delivery was not feasible in the study context. Low recruitment and missing feasibility and acceptability data make it difficult to draw conclusions about intervention engagement and indicative clinical outcomes. Prior findings showing high uptake, adherence and engagement with POD Adventures when delivered in a school-based context suggest that an online study and delivery posed the biggest barriers to study participation and engagement.
There is evidence of an association between life events and psychosis in Europe, North America and Australasia, but few studies have examined this association in the rest of the world.
To test the association between exposure to life events and psychosis in catchment areas in India, Nigeria, and Trinidad and Tobago.
We conducted a population-based, matched case–control study of 194 participants in India, Nigeria, and Trinidad and Tobago. Cases were recruited through comprehensive population-based, case-finding strategies. The Harvard Trauma Questionnaire was used to measure life events. The Screening Schedule for Psychosis was used to screen for psychotic symptoms. The association between psychosis and having experienced life events (experienced or witnessed) was estimated by conditional logistic regression.
There was no overall evidence of an association between psychosis and having experienced or witnessed life events (adjusted odds ratio 1.19, 95% CI 0.62–2.28). We found evidence of effect modification by site (P = 0.002), with stronger evidence of an association in India (adjusted odds ratio 1.56, 95% CI 1.03–2.34), inconclusive evidence in Nigeria (adjusted odds ratio 1.17, 95% CI 0.95–1.45) and evidence of an inverse association in Trinidad and Tobago (adjusted odds ratio 0.66, 95% CI 0.44–0.97).
This study found no overall evidence of an association between witnessing or experiencing life events and psychotic disorder across three culturally and economically diverse countries. There was preliminary evidence that the association varies between settings.
Understanding how and under what circumstances a highly effective psychological intervention, improved symptoms of depression is important to maximise its clinical effectiveness.
To address this complexity, we estimate the indirect effects of potentially important mediators to improve symptoms of depression (measured with the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9)) in the Healthy Activity Program trial.
Interventional in(direct) effects were used to decompose the total effect of the intervention on PHQ-9 scores into the direct and indirect effects. The following indirect effects were considered: characteristics of sessions, represented by the number of sessions and homework completed; behavioural activation, according to an adapted version of the Behavioural Activation for Depression Scale – Short Form; and extra sessions offered to participants who did not respond to the intervention.
Of the total effect of the intervention measured through the difference in PHQ-9 scores between treatment arms (mean difference: −2.1, bias-corrected 95% CI −3.2 to −1.5), 34% was mediated through improved levels of behavioural activation (mean difference: −0.7, bias-corrected 95% CI −1.2 to −0.4). There was no evidence to support the mediating role of characteristics of the sessions nor the extra sessions offered to participants who did not respond to the treatment.
Findings from our robust mediation analyses confirmed the importance of targeting behavioural activation. Contrary to published literature, our findings suggest that neither the number of sessions nor proportion of homework completed improved outcomes. Moreover, in this context, alternative treatments other than extra sessions should be considered for patients who do not respond to the intervention.
The ‘PRemIum for aDolEscents’ (PRIDE) project has developed a school-based, transdiagnostic stepped care programme for common adolescent mental health problems in India. The programme comprises a brief problem-solving intervention (‘Step 1’) followed by a personalised cognitive-behavioural intervention (‘Step 2’) for participants who do not respond to the first step.
A mixed-method design was used to evaluate the acceptability and feasibility of the stepped care programme in five schools in New Delhi. Participants were N = 80 adolescents (mean age = 15.3 years, females = 55%) with elevated mental symptoms and associated distress/impairment.
61 (76%) of the enrolled sample were assessed following Step 1, from which 33 (54%) met non-remission criteria. Among these 33 non-remitted cases, 12 (36%) opted for Step 2 and five (42%) completed the full programme. The remaining non-remitted cases (n = 21, 64%) opted out of further treatment. Perceived resolution of the primary problem (n = 9, 43%) was the most common reason for opting out. The median time to complete each step was 22 and 70 days respectively, with a gap of 31 days between steps. Qualitative feedback from adolescents and counsellors indicated requirements for a shorter delivery schedule, greater continuity across steps and more collaborative decision-making.
This study provides preliminary evidence for a stepped care programme aimed at common adolescent mental health problems. Modifications are recommended to enhance the acceptability and feasibility of the programme in low-resource settings.
Kelvin–Helmholtz (KH) instability plays a significant role in transport and mixing in various media such as hydrodynamic fluids, plasmas, geophysical flows and astrophysical situations. In this paper, we numerically explore this instability for a two-dimensional strongly coupled dusty plasma medium with rotational shear flows. We study this medium using a generalized hydrodynamic fluid model which treats it as a viscoelastic fluid. We consider the specific cases of rotating vorticity with abrupt radial profiles of rotation. In particular, single-circulation and multi-circulation vorticity shell profiles have been chosen. We observe the KH vortices at each circular interface between two relative rotating flows along with a pair of ingoing and outgoing wavefronts of transverse shear waves. Our studies show that due to the interplay between KH vortices and shear waves in the strongly coupled medium, the mixing and transport behaviour are much better than those of standard inviscid hydrodynamic fluids. In the interest of substantiating the mixing and transport behaviour, the generalized hydrodynamic fluid model is extended to include Lagrangian tracer particles. The numerical dispersion of these tracer particles in a flow provides an estimate of the diffusion in such a medium. We present the preliminary observations of tracer distribution (cluster formation) and diffusion (mean square displacement) across the medium.
The passage of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD or the Convention) has been hailed as the culmination of a “paradigm shift” from the biomedical model of disability to the social and human rights-oriented model. The CRPD’s assertion of equal recognition before the law applying to all persons with disability, including mental health and psychosocial disability, and thus amounting to universal legal capacity, in Article 12 and in the subsequent General Comment, Number 1 on Article 12 issued by the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD Committee), has been the subject of considerable debate. While many have argued that this is a long overdue protection and a manifestation of nondiscrimination and freedom from coercion on the basis of disability, some have raised concerns based on perceived impracticality or risk. Among the obligations of States parties to the Convention is the mandate to shift from coercion, in the form of substitute decision-making models, to supported decision-making regimes, relying on a “will and preference” standard rather than a “best interests” standard. Even while debate around the exact nature and scope of Article 12 and General Comment 1 continues, efforts to end coercion in mental health and to promote supported decision-making have been gaining momentum in laws, policies, and practices around the world.
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.
Since adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the interpretive General Comment 1, the topic of legal capacity in mental health settings has generated considerable debate in disciplines ranging from law and psychiatry to public health and public policy. With over 180 countries having ratified the Convention, the shifts required in law and clinical practice need to be informed by interdisciplinary and contextually relevant research as well as the views of stakeholders. With an equal emphasis on the Global North and Global South, this volume offers a comprehensive, interdisciplinary analysis of legal capacity in the realm of mental health. Integrating rigorous academic research with perspectives from people with psychosocial disabilities and their caregivers, the authors provide a holistic overview of pertinent issues and suggest avenues for reform.