"I decided to participate"¦.because I saw it as benefiting our community and families": a qualitative study of lay providers"™ experiences with delivering an evidence-based mental health intervention for families in Uganda
Background: Children and adolescents who live in resource-limited communities in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) experience significant mental health problems, including behavioral problems. In SSA, one of the most significant impediments to expanding services is a scarcity of mental health specialists. Task-shifting can effectively solve the mental health care gap in low-resource settings, yet it is underutilized in child and adolescent mental health. Moreover, the experiences of lay providers are understudied in global mental health, despite their potential impact on intervention effectiveness. In this study, we examined the experiences of community health workers and parent peers with the task-shifting of an evidence-based family strengthening intervention in Uganda. Methods: As part of a larger randomized clinical trial, semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 24 facilitators selected using stratified purposive sampling. Interviews explored their decision to participate in the program; experiences with the training; and experiences with intervention delivery. All interviews were conducted in Luganda (local language) and audio recorded. They were transcribed verbatim and translated into English. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. Results: Despite concerns around lack of previous experience and time commitment, facilitators reported high relevance of the intervention to the families in their communities as well as their own as a motivation to participate. They also identified financial incentives as a motivating factor. These two factors also ensured their attendance at the training. They were satisfied with the content and skills provided during the training and felt prepared to deliver the intervention. During intervention delivery, they enjoyed seeing the families engaged and participating actively in the sessions as well as observing positive changes in the families. Some challenges with family attendance and engagement were noted. The facilitators reported an increased sense of self-efficacy and competence over time; and expressed high satisfaction with supervision. Conclusion: Facilitators"™ positive experiences point to the high acceptability and appropriateness of task-shifting this intervention in low-resource settings. As the global mental health field continues to be interested in task-shifting interventions to lay providers, successful examples should be studied so that evidence-based models can be put in place to support them through the process.
Community-based family peer navigator programme to facilitate linkage to coordinated specialty care for early psychosis among Black families in the USA: A protocol for a hybrid type I feasibility study
BACKGROUND:Approximately 70% of Black/African American family members report no contact with mental health providers prior to initial diagnosis and the receipt of services for early psychosis. Black families often encounter barriers and experience delays on the pathway to coordinated specialty care programmes for early psychosis. METHODS AND ANALYSIS:This mixed-methods study will (1) develop and refine a family peer navigator (FPN) for Black families designed to increase access and engagement in coordinated specialty care and (2) pilot-test FPN for Black families with 40 family members with loved ones at risk for psychosis in a randomised trial to assess the acceptability and feasibility. Families will be randomised to FPN (n=20) or a low-intensive care coordination (n=20). Other outcomes include proposed treatment targets (eg, knowledge, social connectedness), preliminary impact outcomes (time to coordinated specialty care programmes, initial family engagement), and implementation outcomes (acceptability, feasibility, appropriateness). ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION:Ethics approval has been obtained from Washington State University Institutional Review Board and informed consent will be obtained from all participants. This study will establish an innovative culturally responsive FPN programme and implementation strategy, and generate preliminary data to support a larger hybrid effectiveness-implementation trial. Study findings will be presented at conferences and in peer-reviewed journals. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER:NCT05284721.
The longitudinal impact of an evidence-based multiple family group intervention (Amaka Amasanyufu) on oppositional defiant disorder and impaired functioning among children in Uganda: analysis of a cluster randomized trial from the SMART Africa-Uganda scale-up study (2016-2022)
BACKGROUND:Oppositional Defiant Disorders (ODDs) and other Disruptive Behavior Disorders (DBDs) are common among children and adolescents in poverty-impacted communities in sub-Saharan Africa. Without early intervention, its progression into adulthood can result in dire consequences. We examined the impact of a manualized family strengthening intervention called Amaka Amasanyufu designed to reduce ODDs and other DBDs among school-going children residing in low-resource communities in Uganda. METHODS:We used longitudinal data from the SMART Africa-Uganda study (2016-2022). Public primary schools were randomized to: (1) Control condition (receiving usual care comprising generalized psychosocial functioning literature), 10 schools; (2) intervention delivered via parent peers (Amaka-parents), 8 schools or; (3) intervention delivered via community healthcare workers (Amaka-community), 8 schools. All the participants were blinded. At baseline, 8- and 16-weeks postintervention initiation, caregivers completed the Iowa Conners Scale, which measured Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Impairment Rating Scale to evaluate children's overall impairment and impaired functioning with peers, siblings, and parents; impaired academic progress, self-esteem, and family functioning. Three-level linear mixed-effects models were fitted to each outcome. Pairwise comparisons of postbaseline group means within each time point were performed using Sidak's adjustment for multiple comparisons. Only children positive for ODD and other DBDs were analyzed. RESULTS:Six hundred and thirty-six children screened positive for ODDs and other DBDs (Controls: nâ€‰=â€‰243; Amaka-parents: nâ€‰=â€‰194; Amaka-community: nâ€‰=â€‰199). At 8â€‰weeks, Amaka-parents' children had significantly lower mean scores for overall impairment compared to controls, (mean difference: -0.71, pâ€‰=â€‰.001), while Amaka-community children performed better on ODD (mean difference: -0.84, pâ€‰=â€‰.016). At 16â€‰weeks, children in both groups were performing better on ODD and IRS than controls, and there were no significant differences between the two intervention groups. CONCLUSIONS:The Amaka Amasanyufu intervention was efficacious in reducing ODD and impaired functioning relative to usual care. Hence, the Amaka Amasanyufu intervention delivered either by Amaka-community or Amaka-parents has the potential to reduce negative behavioral health outcomes among young people in resource-limited settings and improve family functioning. TRIAL REGISTRATION/BACKGROUND:ClinicalTrials.gov, ID: NCT03081195. Registered on 16 March 2017.
Reducing Anxiety and Stress among Youth in a CBT-Based Equine-Assisted Adaptive Riding Program
Reining in Anxiety (RiA) is a therapeutic program for youth with mild to moderate anxiety delivered in a therapeutic riding setting by Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructors. RiA was developed after a review of the evidence base for youth anxiety, is manualized, and includes five core CBT components: in vivo exposure, cognitive restructuring, youth psychoeducation, relaxation, and caregiver psychoeducation about anxiety. This study extended findings from a prior RCT that examined (1) the feasibility of collecting saliva samples from horses and children to measure stress (cortisol) and relaxation (oxytocin); (2) whether changes in stress and relaxation occurred both during each lesson and over the course of the 10-week intervention for horses and youth; (3) whether changes in anxiety symptoms, emotional regulation, and self-efficacy found in the first trial were comparable; and (4) if fidelity to the program was reliable. Youth participants (n = 39) ages 6"“17 with caregiver-identified mild-to-moderate anxiety participated in a ten-week therapeutic intervention (RiA), which combined adaptive riding and components of CBT. Physiological data and self-report measures were taken at weeks one, four, seven, and ten for the youth and horses. Saliva assays assessed cortisol as a physiological marker of stress and anxiety, and oxytocin as a measure of relaxation. Fidelity data were recorded per session. Anxiety, as measured by caregiver self-reporting, significantly decreased from pre- to post-test, while emotional regulation scores increased. No significant changes in self-efficacy from pre- to post-test were observed. Saliva samples obtained from participants before and after riding sessions showed a consistent decrease in cortisol and a significant increase in oxytocin at two of the four timepoints (Week 1 and Week 7), but no overall pre- to post-test changes. Horse saliva data were collected using a modified bit; there were no significant changes in oxytocin or cortisol, suggesting that the horses did not have an increase in stress from the intervention. RiA may be a promising approach for reducing anxiety and stress among youth, as measured both by self-reported and by physiological measures. Collection of salivary assays for both youth and horses is feasible, and the intervention does not increase stress in the horses. Importantly, RiA can be delivered by adaptive/therapeutic horseback riding instructors in naturalistic (e.g., non-clinic-based) settings. As youth anxiety is a growing public health problem, novel interventions, such as RiA, that can be delivered naturalistically may have the potential to reach more youth and thus improve their quality of life. Further research is needed to examine the comparative value of RiA with other animal-assisted interventions and to assess its cost-effectiveness.
Review: Structural Racism, Children's Mental Health Service Systems, and Recommendations for Policy and Practice Change
OBJECTIVE:Racism is a public health crisis impacting children's mental health, yet mental health service systems are insufficiently focused on addressing racism. Moreover, a focus on interpersonal racism and on individual coping with the impacts of racism has been prioritized over addressing structural racism at the level of the service system and associated institutions. In this paper, we examine strategies to address structural racism via policies impacting children's mental health services. METHOD/METHODS:First, we identify and analyze federal and state policies focused on racism and mental health equity. Second, we evaluate areas of focus in these policies and discuss the evidence base informing their implementation. Finally, we provide recommendations for what states, counties, cities, and mental health systems can do to promote antiracist evidence-based practices in children's mental health. RESULTS:Our analysis highlights gaps and opportunities in the evidence base for policy implementation strategies including: mental health services for youth of color, interventions addressing interpersonal racism and bias in the mental health service system, interventions addressing structural racism, changes to provider licensure and license renewal, and development of the community health workforce. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:Recommendations are provided both within and across systems to catalyze broader systems transformation.
Family-level correlates of disruptive behavior challenges among children in Southwestern Uganda
Introduction: This exploratory study sought to examine the extent to which family-level factors are associated with disruptive behavioral disorder (DBD) symptoms, including oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and conduct disorder (CD) among school children in Uganda, a low-resource country in SSA. The examination of key influences within the SSA context is important to guide needed investments in mental health care and family-level support. Importantly, identifying families at higher risk can inform the development of contextualized family interventions that reinforce positive parenting practices. Method: We analyzed baseline data (N = 2110) from the NIH-funded Strengthening Mental health And Research Training in Africa (SMART Africa) scale-up study in Southwestern Uganda. Children aged 8-13 and their caregivers were recruited from 30 public primary schools. DBDs were examined using the DBD rating scale, Iowa Conners, and Impairment scales. Logistic regression analysis using cluster adjusted robust standard errors to adjust for within-school clustering was conducted to assess the association between DBD symptoms and family-level factors, including parenting practices, marital status, and family size. Results: Results indicate that poor parental supervision (OR = 1.17; CI: 1.13, 1.21; P < .001), divorced families (OR = 1.33; CI: 1.03, 1.72; P < .05), and widowed families (OR = 1.48; CI: 1.10, 2.00; P < .01) were associated with higher DBD symptoms among children. On the other hand, caregiver age (OR = 0.99; CI: 0.98, 0.99; P < .01) was associated with lower DBD symptoms among children. Moreover, caregiver employment and parental education were not statistically significant in the model. Conclusion: Findings from the study reveal an association between family-level factors and behavioral difficulties among children in Uganda suggesting that divorced and widowedfamilies may benefit from additional support in caring for children. Moreover, caregivers may also benefit from programs that provide tools for effective parental supervision. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)
State Policies that Impact the Design of Children's Mental Health Services: A Modified Delphi Study
To identify the state-level policies and policy domains that state policymakers and advocates perceive as most important for positively impacting the use of children's mental health services (CMHS). We used a modified Delphi technique (i.e., two rounds of questionnaires and an interview) during Spring 2021 to elicit perceptions among state mental health agency officials and advocates (nâ€‰=â€‰28) from twelve states on state policies that impact the use of CMHS. Participants rated a list of pre-specified policies on a 7-point Likert scale (1â€‰=â€‰not important,Â 7â€‰=â€‰extremely important) in the following policy domains: insurance coverage and limits, mental health services, school and social. Participants added nine policies to the initial list of 24 policies. The "school" policy domain was perceived as the most important, while the "social" policy domain was perceived as the least important after the first questionnaire and the second most important policy domain after the second questionnaire. The individual policies perceived as most important were school-based mental health services, state mental health parity, and Medicaid reimbursement rates. Key stakeholders in CMHS should leverage this group of policies to understand the current policy landscape in their state and to identify gaps in policy domains and potential policy opportunities to create a more comprehensive system to address children's mental health from a holistic, evidence-based policymaking perspective.
Inter-agency collaboration is associated with increased frequency of research use in children's mental health policy making
OBJECTIVE:To determine whether the self-report frequency of inter-agency collaboration about children's mental health issues is associated with the self-report frequency of using research evidence in children's mental health policy and program decision making in mental health agencies (MHAs). DATA SOURCES/METHODS:Primary data were collected through web-based surveys of state (NÂ =Â 221) and county (NÂ =Â 117) MHA officials. DESIGN/METHODS:The primary independent variable was a composite score quantifying the frequency of collaboration about children's mental health issues between officials in MHAs and six other state agencies. The dependent variables were composite scores quantifying the frequency of research use in children's mental health policy and program decision making in general and for specific purposes (i.e., conceptual, instrumental, tactical, imposed). Covariates were composite scores quantifying well-established determinants of research use (e.g., agency leadership, research use skills) in agency policy and program decision making. DATA METHODS/UNASSIGNED:Separate multiple linear regression models estimated associations between frequency of inter-agency collaboration and research use scores, adjusting for other determinants of research use, respondent state, and other covariates. Data from state and county officials were analyzed separately. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS/RESULTS:The frequency of inter-agency collaboration was positively and independently associated with the frequency of research use in children's mental health policy making among state (Î²Â =Â 0.22, p =â€‰0.004) and county (Î²Â =Â 0.39, pâ€‰<â€‰0.0001) MHA officials. Inter-agency collaboration was also the only variable significantly associated with the frequency of research use for all four specific purposes among state MHA officials, and similar findings we observed among county MHA officials. The magnitudes of associations between inter-agency collaboration and frequency of research use were generally stronger than for more well-established determinants of research use in policy making. CONCLUSIONS:Strategies that promote collaboration between MHA officials and external agencies could increase the use of research evidence in children's mental health policy and program decision making in MHAs.
Mental health service availability for autistic youth in New York City: An examination of the developmental disability and mental health service systems
LAY ABSTRACT/UNASSIGNED:Autistic children and adolescents experience high rates of co-occurring mental health conditions, including depression and suicidality, which are frequently identified by stakeholders as treatment priorities. Unfortunately, accessing community-based mental health care is often difficult for autistic youth and their families. The first obstacle families confront is finding a provider that offers mental health treatment to autistic youth within the many service systems involved in supporting the autism community. The mental health and developmental disability systems are two of the most commonly accessed, and previous work has shown there is often confusion over which of these systems is responsible for providing mental health care to autistic individuals. In this study, we conducted a telephone survey to determine the availability of outpatient mental health services for autistic youth with depressive symptoms or suicidal thoughts or behaviors in New York City across the state's mental health and developmental disability systems. Results showed that while a greater percentage of clinics in the mental health system compared with in the developmental disability system offered outpatient mental health services to autistic youth (47.1% vs 25.0%), many more did not offer care to autistic youth and there were very few options overall. Therefore, it is important that changes to policy are made to increase the availability of services and that mental health care providers' knowledge and confidence in working with autistic youth are improved.
Simulating the role of knowledge brokers in policy making in state agencies: An agent-based model
OBJECTIVE:To model children's mental health policy making dynamics and simulate the impacts of knowledge broker interventions. DATA SOURCES/METHODS:Primary data from surveys (nÂ =Â 221) and interviews (nÂ =Â 64) conducted in 2019-2021 with mental health agency (MHA) officials in state agencies. STUDY DESIGN/METHODS:A prototype agent-based model (ABM) was developed using the PARTE (Properties, Actions, Rules, Time, Environment) framework and informed through primary data collection. In each simulation, a policy is randomly generated (salience weights: cost, contextual alignment, and strength of evidence) and discussed among agents. Agents are MHA officials and heterogenous in their properties (policy making power and network influence) and policy preferences (based on salience weights). Knowledge broker interventions add agents to the MHA social network who primarily focus on the policy's research evidence. DATA COLLECTION/EXTRACTION METHODS/METHODS:A sequential explanatory mixed method approach was used. Descriptive and regression analyses were used for the survey data and directed content analysis was used to code interview data. Triangulated results informed ABM development. In the ABM, policy makers with various degrees of decision influence interact in a scale-free network before and after knowledge broker interventions. Over time, each decides to support or oppose a policy proposal based on policy salience weights and their own properties and interactions. The main outcome is an agency-level decision based on policy maker support. Each intervention and baseline simulation runs 250 times across 50 timesteps. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS/RESULTS:Surveys and interviews revealed that barriers to research use could be addressed by knowledge brokers. Simulations indicated that policy decision outcomes varied by policy making context within agencies. CONCLUSIONS:This is the first application of ABM to evidence-informed mental health policy making focusing. Results suggest that the presence of knowledge brokers can: (1) influence consensus formation in MHAs, (2) accelerate policy decisions, and (3) increase the likelihood of evidence-informed policy adoption.