Barriers and facilitators to implementation of evidence-based task-sharing mental health interventions in LMICs

17 January, 2022

Citation and abstract below (with thanks to LRC Network/Irina Ibraghimova)

CITATION: Implement Sci. 2022 Jan 12;17(1):4. doi: 10.1186/s13012-021-01179-z.

Barriers and facilitators to implementation of evidence-based task-sharing mental health interventions in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review using implementation science frameworks.

Le PD(1), Eschliman EL(2), Grivel MM(3), Tang J(4), Cho YG(5), Yang X(6), Tay C(7), Li T(7), Bass J(#)(8), Yang LH(#)(3)(6).


BACKGROUND: Task-sharing is a promising strategy to expand mental healthcare in low-resource settings, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Research on how to best implement task-sharing mental health interventions, however, is hampered by an incomplete understanding of the barriers and facilitators to their implementation. This review aims to systematically identify implementation barriers and facilitators in evidence-based task-sharing mental health interventions using an implementation science lens, organizing factors across a novel, integrated implementation science framework.

METHODS: PubMed, PsychINFO, CINAHL, and Embase were used to identify English-language, peer-reviewed studies using search terms for three categories: "mental health," "task-sharing," and "LMIC." ...

RESULTS: Of the 26,935 articles screened (title and abstract), 192 articles underwent full-text review, yielding 37 articles representing 28 unique intervention studies that met the inclusion criteria. The most prevalent facilitators occur in domains that are more amenable to adaptation (i.e., the intervention and provider characteristics domains), while salient barriers occur in domains that are more challenging to modulate or intervene on-these include constructs in the client characteristics as well as the broader societal and structural levels of influence (i.e., the organizational, mental health system domains). Other notable trends include constructs in the family and community domains occurring as barriers and as facilitators roughly equally, and stigma constructs acting exclusively as barriers.

CONCLUSIONS: Using the BeFITS-MH model we developed based on implementation science frameworks, this systematic review provides a comprehensive identification and organization of barriers and facilitators to evidence-based task-sharing mental health interventions in LMICs. These findings have important implications for ongoing and future implementation of this critically needed intervention strategy, including the promise of leveraging task-sharing intervention characteristics as sites of continued innovation, the importance of but relative lack of engagement with constructs in macro-level domains (e.g., organizational characteristics, stigma), and the need for more delineation of strategies for task-sharing mental health interventions that researchers and implementers can employ to enhance implementation in and across levels.

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator,