Implementation and Effectiveness of Nonspecialist-Delivered Interventions for Perinatal Mental Health in High-Income Countries: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Systematic Review)

IMPORTANCE: Task sharing-or training of nonspecialist providers with no formal training in counseling-is an effective strategy to improve access to evidence-based counseling interventions and has the potential to address the burden of perinatal depression and anxiety. OBJECTIVES: To identify the relevant implementation processes (who, what, where, and how) and to assess the effectiveness of counseling interventions delivered by nonspecialist providers for perinatal depression and anxiety in high-income countries. DATA SOURCES: CINAHL, Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid MEDLINE In-Process, PsycINFO, Web of Science, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Embase through December 31, 2019. Relevant systematic reviews were also considered. STUDY SELECTION: Randomized clinical trials of counseling interventions that assessed depression or anxiety after intervention, delivered by a nonspecialist provider for adults, and that targeted perinatal populations in a high-income country were included. Self-help interventions that did not include a provider component were excluded. DATA EXTRACTION AND SYNTHESIS: Four researchers independently reviewed abstracts and full-text articles, and 2 independently rated the quality of included studies. Random-effects meta-analysis was used to estimate the benefits of the interventions. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses reporting guideline was followed. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: For implementation processes, the frequencies represented by a total or percentage were estimated, where the denominator is the total number of eligible trials, unless otherwise indicated. For effectiveness, primary and secondary outcome data of depression, anxiety, or both symptoms were used, with separate analyses for prevention and treatment, stratified by depression or anxiety. Subgroup analyses compared outcome types (anxiety vs depression) and study objectives (treatment vs prevention). RESULTS: In total, 46 trials (18 321 participants) were included in the systematic review; 44 trials (18 101 participants) were included in the meta-analysis. Interventions were implemented across 11 countries, with the majority in Australia, UK, and US. Two-thirds (65%) of counseling interventions were provided by nurses and midwives, lasted a mean of 11.2 weeks (95% CI, 6.4-16.0 weeks), and most were delivered face to face (31 [67.4%]). Only 2 interventions were delivered online. A dearth of information related to important implementation processes, such as supervision, fidelity, and participant sociodemographic characteristics, was observed in many articles. Compared with controls, counseling interventions were associated with lower depressive symptoms (standardized mean difference [SMD], 0.24 [95% CI, 0.14-0.34]; 43 trials; I2 = 81%) and anxiety scores (SMD, 0.30 [95% CI, 0.11-0.50]; 11 trials; I2 = 80%). Treatment interventions were reported to be effective for both depressive symptoms (SMD, 0.38 [95% CI, 0.17-0.59]; 15 trials; I2 = 69%) and anxiety symptoms (SMD, 0.34 [95% CI, 0.09-0.58]; 6 trials; I2 = 71%). However, heterogeneity was high among the trials included in this analysis. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: This study found evidence in high-income countries indicating that nonspecialist providers may be effective in delivering counseling interventions. Additional studies are needed to assess digital interventions and ensure the reporting of implementation processes to inform the optimal delivery and scale-up of these services.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Singla, DR; Lawson, A; Kohrt, BA; Jung, JW; Meng, Z; Ratjen, C; Zahedi, N; Dennis, C-L; Patel, V

Published Date

  • May 1, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 78 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 498 - 509

PubMed ID

  • 33533904

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7859878

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2168-6238

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.4556


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States