Mental health interventions for children in adversity: pilot-testing a research strategy for treatment selection in low-income settings

Soc Sci Med. 2011 Aug;73(3):456-66. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2011.06.004. Epub 2011 Jun 25.


This study aimed to develop a research strategy to make informed decisions for intervention selection, especially for low- and middle-income countries, as a response to the urgent need to scale-up mental health care for children globally. With this study we address the critical lack of translation of research findings into policy and practice. The research strategy was piloted for development of a family-based intervention in violence-affected areas in Burundi. The research comprised four phases; (a) a qualitative phase to assess needs and determine tentative intervention objectives; (b) a global expert panel to identify and prioritize intervention modalities for low-resource settings; (c) systematic literature review and distillation of practice elements from evidence-based treatments; and (d) stakeholder meetings to explore social-cultural feasibility and acceptability of the developed intervention. The study was conducted between January and November 2010. The research strategy resulted in the development of a stepped family-based care intervention, which combines community mobilization, parent-management training and cognitive behavior therapy elements. This pilot-tested research strategy, encompassing global and local knowledge on needs, feasibility and effectiveness, has the potential to be useful for developing mental health and psychosocial interventions in other settings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Burundi
  • Child
  • Child Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Needs Assessment
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Poverty Areas*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Research Design