The paper “Mental health interventions for children in adversity: Pilot-testing a research strategy for treatment selection in low-income settings” was recently published in Social, Science & Medicine (2011, 73: 3: 456-466) by HealthNet TPO research staff. It describes a research strategy to make informed decisions for intervention selection, especially for low- and middle-income countries, as a response to the urgent need to scale-up mental health care for children globally.
With this strategy, the critical lack of translation of research findings into policy and practice is addressed. The research strategy was piloted for development of a family-based intervention in violence-affected areas in Burundi.
The research strategy comprised four phases; (a) a qualitative phase to assess needs and determine tentative intervention objectives; (b) a global expert panel to identify and prioritize intervention modalities for low-resource settings; (c) systematic literature review and distillation of practice elements from evidence-based treatments; and (d) stakeholder meetings to explore social-cultural feasibility and acceptability of the developed intervention.
The study was conducted between January and November 2010. The research strategy resulted in the development of a stepped family-based care intervention, which combines community mobilization, parent management training and cognitive behavior therapy elements. This pilot-tested research strategy, encompassing global and local knowledge on needs, feasibility and effectiveness, has the potential to be useful for developing mental health and psychosocial interventions in other settings.