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