Lessons learned from conducting mental health intervention research in schools in the Global South: Our Experiences in South Africa and Kenya

Maria E. Loades, Bronwyne Coetzee, Tom Osborm, Suzanne Human, Katherine Venturo-Conerly

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Abstract

Most of the world’s population of young people live in lower-and middle-income countries (LMICs; (Weine, Horvath Marques, Singh, & Pringle, 2020)), and these young people experience heightened rates of known risk factors for developing mental disorders such as poverty and exposure to trauma (Atwoli, Stein, Koenen, & McLaughlin, 2015). Access to professional psychological treatments is limited in LMICs due to structural barriers (e.g., a dearth of trained professionals) and cultural factors like stigma and beliefs about mental health and illness. Therefore, schools, which are widely attended, may be a good location for providing mental health interventions, and it is important that we develop and evaluate feasible, acceptable, effective, and scalable interventions for use in this context. Yet under 10% of clinical trials of psychotherapies (Venturo-Conerly, Eisenman, Wasil, Singla, & Weisz, 2022) have been conducted in LMICs. And there are particular challenges to conducting research in schools, as has been highlighted in the UK context by Moore et al. (2022). Building on that commentary, our aim herein is to share our learnings from conducting psychotherapy research in schools in Kenya and South Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-197
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Volume29
Issue number1
Early online date13 Jul 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2024

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Africa
  • LMICs
  • mental health interventions
  • school-based

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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