Evaluation of capacity-building strategies for mental health system strengthening in low- and middle-income countries for service users and carers,policymakers and planners, and researchers

Evans-Lacko, Sara, Hanlon, Charlotte, Alem, Atalay, Ayuso-Mateos, Jose Luis, Chisholm, Dan, Gureje, Oye, Jordans, Mark, Kigozi, Fred, Lempp, Heidi, Lund, Crick, Petersen, Inge, Shidhaye, Rahul, Thornicroft, Graham and Semrau, Maya (2019) Evaluation of capacity-building strategies for mental health system strengthening in low- and middle-income countries for service users and carers,policymakers and planners, and researchers. BJPsych Open, 5 (5). e67. ISSN 2056-4724

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Abstract

Background
Strengthening of mental health systems in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) requires the involvement of appropriately skilled and committed individuals from a range of stakeholder groups. Currently, few evidence-based capacity building activities and materials are available to enable and sustain comprehensive improvements.

Aims
Within the Emerald project, the goal of this study was to evaluate capacity-building activities for three target groups: (i) mental health service users and carers; (ii) policy-makers and planners; and (iii) mental health researchers.

Method
We developed and tailored three short courses (between 1 and 5 days). We then implemented and evaluated these short courses on twenty-four different occasions. We assessed satisfaction among 527 course participants as well as pre-post changes in knowledge in six LMICs (Ethiopia, India, Nepal, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda). Changes in research capacity of partner Emerald institutions was also assessed through monitoring of academic outputs of participating researchers and students and via anonymous surveys.

Results
Short courses were associated with high levels of satisfaction and led to improvements in knowledge across target groups. In relation to institutional capacity building, all partner institutions reported improvements in research capacity for most aspects of mental health system strengthening and global mental health, and many of these positive changes were attributed to the Emerald programme. In terms of outputs, eight PhD students submitted a total of 10 papers relating to their PhD work (range 0-4) and were involved in 14 grant applications, of which 43% were successful.

Conclusions
The Emerald project has shown that building capacity of key stakeholders in mental health system strengthening is possible. However, the starting point and appropriate strategies for this may vary across different countries, depending on the local context, needs and resources.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Global Health and Infection
Subjects: R Medicine
Depositing User: Deborah Miller
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2019 14:07
Last Modified: 21 Aug 2019 14:15
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/82256

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