Scaling Up Science-Based Care for Depression and Unhealthy Alcohol Use in Colombia: An Implementation Science Project

Psychiatr Serv. 2022 Feb 1;73(2):196-205. doi: 10.1176/ Epub 2021 Aug 4.


Background: Mental disorders are a major cause of the global burden of disease and significantly contribute to disability and death. This challenge is particularly evident in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where >85% of the world's population live. Latin America is one region comprising LMICs where the burden of mental disorders is high and the availability of mental health services is low. This is particularly evident in Colombia, a country with a long-standing history of violence and associated mental health problems.

Methods: This article describes the design of a multisite implementation science project, "Scaling Up Science-Based Mental Health Interventions in Latin America" (also known as the DIADA project), that is being conducted in six primary care systems in Colombia. This project, funded via a cooperative agreement from the National Institute of Mental Health, seeks to implement and assess the impact of a new model for promoting widespread access to mental health care for depression and unhealthy alcohol use within primary care settings and building an infrastructure to support research capacity and sustainability of the new service delivery model in Colombia. This care model centrally harnesses mobile health technology to increase the reach of science-based mental health care for depression and unhealthy alcohol use.

Results: This initiative offers great promise to increase capacity for providing and sustaining evidence-based treatment for depression and unhealthy alcohol use in Colombia.

Next steps: This project may inform models of care that can extend to other regions of Latin America or other LMICs.

Trial registration: NCT03392883.

Keywords: Colombia; Digital health; Implementation science; Latin America; Mental health; Primary care.

MeSH terms

  • Colombia / epidemiology
  • Depression* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Implementation Science
  • Mental Disorders*
  • Mental Health

Associated data