Lessons learned through piloting a community-based SMS referral system for common mental health disorders used by female community health volunteers in rural Nepal.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

OBJECTIVE: The Community Informant Detection Tool (CIDT) is a paper-based proactive case detection strategy with evidence for improving help-seeking behavior for mental healthcare. Key implementation barriers for the paper-based CIDT include delayed reporting of cases and lack of active follow up. We used mobile phones and structured text messages to improve timeliness of case reporting, encouraging follow up, and case record keeping. 36 female community health volunteers piloted this mobile phone CIDT (mCIDT) for three months in 2017 in rural Nepal. RESULTS: Only 8 cases were identified by health volunteers using mCIDT, and only two of these cases engaged with health services post-referral. Accuracy with the mCIDT was considerably lower than paper-based CIDT, especially among older health volunteers, those with lower education, and those having difficulties sending text messages. Qualitative findings revealed implementation challenges including cases not following through on referrals due to perceived lack of staff at health facilities, assumptions among health volunteers that all earthquake-related mental health needs had been met, and lack of financial incentives for use of mCIDT. Based on study findings, we provide 5 recommendations-in particular attitudinal and system preparedness changes-to effectively introduce new mental healthcare technology in low resource health systems.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bhardwaj, A; Subba, P; Rai, S; Bhat, C; Ghimire, R; Jordans, MJD; Green, E; Vasudevan, L; Kohrt, BA

Published Date

  • July 1, 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 13 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 309 -

PubMed ID

  • 32611435

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7328268

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1756-0500

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1186/s13104-020-05148-5


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England