Online ISSN: 2451-4950

Keywords : mental health care

Implementing a mental health intervention in low-and-middle-income countries in Europe: is it all about resources?

Jennifer Hunter; Rose McCabe; Jill J Francis; Tamara Pemovska; Emina Ribić; Eldina Smajić Mešević; Jon Konjufca; Silvana Markovska Simoska; Biljana Blazevska Stoilkovska; Tamara Radojičić; Selman Repišti; Stefan Jerotić; Ivan Ristić; Mirjana Zebić; Lidija Injac-Stevović; Aliriza Arenliu; Alma Džubur Kulenović; Dashamir Berxulli; Stojan Bajraktarov; Nikolina Jovanović

GLOBAL PSYCHIATRY, 2021, Volume 4, Issue 1, Pages 31-54
DOI: 10.52095/gp.2020.1409

Background: There are limited resources for improving mental health care across Europe, especially in Low-and-Middle- Income Countries (LMICs) in South-eastern Europe with fewer specialist staff and less funding. Scaling up psychosocial interventions that utilise available time and resources more effectively could improve care for people with psychosis in these settings. One intervention is DIALOG+, delivered via an app on a tablet computer: patients identify life areas to improve and clinicians use a solution-focussed process to help improve these areas. This intervention was piloted across mental healthcare systems in European LMICs, and focus groups were conducted to explore whether such interventions could use available resources effectively to improve care for psychosis in these settings.
Methods: Eleven focus groups were conducted with clinicians and patients with psychosis who used the intervention over three months during the pilot study, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo United Nations Resolution, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia. The Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF), which describes factors affecting engagement with healthcare interventions, structured topic guides and guided analysis. Codes from the data were mapped onto the TDF, analysed to identify barriers and facilitators, translated into English and checked for inter-rater reliability.
Results: 25 clinicians and 23 patients participated in focus groups. Clinicians’ barriers included limited time for sessions and difficulties working with acutely psychotic patients. Patients’ barriers were burden of greater concentration when engaging with DIALOG+ and feeling tense or disturbed during the sessions. Facilitators included motivation to use DIALOG+, positive opinions shared by others, perceived benefits for practice and improving clinician-patient conversations, relationships and care.
Conclusions: Barriers to using psychosocial interventions could be overcome even if resources cannot be increased. Despite limited time and other barriers to using DIALOG+, perceived benefits to practice and clinician-patient relationships suggest that psychosocial interventions can use available resources effectively to improve care for psychosis.

Implementing a psychosocial intervention DIALOG+ for patients with psychotic disorders in low and middle income countries in South Eastern Europe: protocol for a hybrid effectiveness-implementation cluster randomized clinical trial (IMPULSE)

Nikolina Jovanovic; Jill Francis; Nadja P. Maric; Aliriza Arenliu; Stojan Barjaktarov; Alma Dzubur Kulenovic; Lidija Injac; Yan Feng; Antoni Novotni

GLOBAL PSYCHIATRY, 2020, Volume 3, Issue 1, Pages 83-96

Psychotic disorders have large treatment gap in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in South-Eastern Europe, where up to 45% of affected people do not receive care for their condition. This study will assess the implementation of a generic psychosocial intervention called DIALOG+ in mental health care services and its effectiveness at improving patients’ clinical and social outcomes.

This is a protocol for a multi-country, pragmatic, hybrid effectiveness–implementation, cluster-randomised, clinical trial. The trial aims to recruit 80 clinicians and 400 patients across 5 South-Eastern European LMICs: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, Republic of North Macedonia and Serbia. Clusters are clinicians working with patients with psychosis, and each clinician will deliver the intervention to five patients. After patient baseline assessments, clinicians will be randomly assigned to either the DIALOG+ intervention or treatment as usual, with an allocation ratio of 1:1. The intervention will be delivered six times over 12 months during routine clinical meetings. TThe primary outcome measure is the quality of life at 12 months [Manchester Short Assessment of Quality of Life (MANSA)]; the secondary outcomes include mental health symptoms [Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), Clinical Assessment Interview for Negative Symptoms (CAINS), Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI)], satisfaction with services [Client Satisfaction Questionnaire (CSQ-8)] and economic costs at 12 months [based on Client Service Receipt Inventory (CSRI), EQ-5D-5L and Recovering Quality of Life (ReQOL-10)]. The study will assess the intervention fidelity and the experience of clinicians and patients’ about implementing DIALOG+ in real-life mental health care settings. In the health economic assessment, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio is calculated with effectiveness measured by quality-adjusted life year. Data will also be collected on sustainability and reach to inform guidelines for potentially scaling up and implementing the intervention widely. Conclusion: The study is expected to generate new scientific knowledge on the treatment of people with psychosis in health care systems with limited resources. The learning from LMICs could potentially help other countries to expand the access to care and alleviate the suffering of patients with psychosis and their families.
Trial registration: ISRCTN 11913964