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Mental health interventions by lay counsellors: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Connolly, Suzanne, Vanchu-Orosco, Michelle, Warner, Jan, Seidi, Pegah, Edwards, Jenny, BOATH, Elizabeth and Irgens, AC (2021) Mental health interventions by lay counsellors: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 99 (08). pp. 572-582. ISSN 00429686

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Abstract or description

Objective
To investigate the effectiveness of community-based mental health interventions by professionally trained, lay counsellors in low- and middle-income countries.

Methods
We searched PubMed®, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, PROSPERO and EBSCO databases and professional section publications of the United States National Center for PTSD for randomized controlled trials of mental health interventions by professionally trained, lay counsellors in low- and middle-income countries published between 2000 and 2019. Studies of interventions by professional mental health workers, medical professionals or community health workers were excluded because there are shortages of these personnel in the study countries. Additional data were obtained from study authors. The primary outcomes were measures of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and alcohol use. To estimate effect size, we used a random-effects meta-analysis model.

Findings
We identified 1072 studies, of which 19 (involving 20 trials and 5612 participants in total) met the inclusion criteria. Hedges' g for the aggregate effect size of the interventions by professionally trained, lay counsellors compared with mostly either no intervention or usual care was −0.616 (95% confidence interval: −0.866 to −0.366). This result indicates a significant, medium-sized effect. There was no evidence of publication bias or any other form of bias across the studies and there were no extreme outliers among the study results.

Conclusion
The use of professionally trained, lay counsellors to provide mental health interventions in low- and middle-income countries was associated with significant improvements in mental health symptoms across a range of settings.

Item Type: Article
Faculty: School of Health and Social Care > Social Work and Social Welfare
Depositing User: Elizabeth BOATH
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2023 15:41
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2023 15:42
URI: https://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/7594

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