Building capacity in mental health interventions in low resource countries: an apprenticeship model for training local providers

Int J Ment Health Syst. 2011 Nov 18;5(1):30. doi: 10.1186/1752-4458-5-30.


Background: Recent global mental health research suggests that mental health interventions can be adapted for use across cultures and in low resource environments. As evidence for the feasibility and effectiveness of certain specific interventions begins to accumulate, guidelines are needed for how to train, supervise, and ideally sustain mental health treatment delivery by local providers in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). MODEL AND CASE PRESENTATIONS: This paper presents an apprenticeship model for lay counselor training and supervision in mental health treatments in LMIC, developed and used by the authors in a range of mental health intervention studies conducted over the last decade in various low-resource settings. We describe the elements of this approach, the underlying logic, and provide examples drawn from our experiences working in 12 countries, with over 100 lay counselors.

Evaluation: We review the challenges experienced with this model, and propose some possible solutions.

Discussion: We describe and discuss how this model is consistent with, and draws on, the broader dissemination and implementation (DI) literature.

Conclusion: In our experience, the apprenticeship model provides a useful framework for implementation of mental health interventions in LMIC. Our goal in this paper is to provide sufficient details about the apprenticeship model to guide other training efforts in mental health interventions.