Family-based youth mental health interventions delivered by nonspecialist providers in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review.

Journal Article (Systematic Review;Journal Article)


Youth in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are at increased risk for poor mental health due to economic and social disadvantage. Interventions that strengthen families may equip children and adolescents with the supports and resources to fulfill their potential and buffer them from future stressors and adversity. Due to human resource constraints, task-sharing-delivery of interventions by nonspecialists-may be an effective strategy to facilitate the dissemination of mental health interventions in low resource contexts. To this end, we conducted a systematic review of the literature on family-based interventions delivered in LMICs by nonspecialist providers (NSPs) targeting youth mental health and family related outcomes.


Cochrane and PRISMA procedures guided this review. Searches were conducted in PsychInfo, PubMed, and Web of Science, with additional articles pulled from reference lists.


This search yielded 10 studies. Four studies were developed specifically for the delivery context using formative qualitative research; the remaining interventions underwent adaptation for use in the context. All interventions employed a period of structured training; nine studies additionally provided ongoing supervision to counselors. Interventions noted widespread acceptance of program material and delivery by NSPs. They also noted the need for ongoing supervision of NSPs to increase treatment fidelity.


Usage of NSPs is quite consistently proving feasible, acceptable, and efficacious and is almost certainly a valuable component within approaches to scaling up mental health programs. A clear next step is to establish and evaluate sustainable models of training and supervision to further inform scalability. (PsycINFO Database Record

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Healy, EA; Kaiser, BN; Puffer, ES

Published Date

  • June 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 36 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 182 - 197

PubMed ID

  • 29902035

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6742429

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1939-0602

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1091-7527

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037/fsh0000334


  • eng