App-based guided problem-solving intervention for adolescent mental health: a pilot cohort study in Indian schools

Gonsalves, Pattie P, Hodgson, Eleanor Sara, Bhat, Bhargav, Sharma, Rhea, Jambhale, Abhijeet, Michelson, Daniel and Patel, Vikram (2020) App-based guided problem-solving intervention for adolescent mental health: a pilot cohort study in Indian schools. Evidence-Based Mental Health. pp. 1-8. ISSN 1362-0347

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Abstract

Background
This paper describes the pilot evaluation of ‘POD Adventures’, a lay counsellor-guided problem-solving intervention delivered via a smartphone app in Indian secondary schools.

Objective
To test the feasibility and acceptability of POD Adventures for adolescents with a felt need for psychological support, and to explore the intervention’s effects on self-reported mental health symptoms, prioritised problems, stress and well-being.

Methods
We used a mixed-methods pre-post cohort design. Participants were self-referred from grades 9–12 in two coeducational government-aided secondary schools in Goa, India. The intervention was delivered in two formats, ‘mixed’ (comprising individual and small group sessions) and ‘group’ (small group sessions only).

Findings
248 participants enrolled in the study and 230 (92.7%) completed the intervention. Outcomes at 4 weeks showed significant improvements on all measures that were maintained at 12 weeks. Large effects were observed on problem severity scores (4 weeks, d=1.47; 12 weeks, d=1.53) while small to moderate effects were seen on mental health symptoms, stress and well-being. 22 students completed qualitative interviews about their experience of the intervention. Participants found POD Adventures easy to use, engaging and helpful in solving their problems. They were satisfied with the guidance provided by the counsellor irrespective of delivery format.

Conclusions
POD Adventures was feasible to deliver with guidance from lay counsellors in Indian schools, acceptable to participants and associated with large improvements in problem severity and mental health symptom severity.

Clinical implications
POD Adventures has promise as an early intervention for adolescents with a felt need for psychological support in low-resource settings.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: child & adolescent psychiatry
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2020 09:11
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2020 09:15
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/95440

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