Benefits and Challenges of Using a Participatory Approach with Community-based Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Interventions in Displaced Populations

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The mental health burden of displaced communities is enormous and ever-increasing. Community-based Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (CB-MHPSS) interventions are seen as vital in addressing this challenge, and they have been lauded as being integral in the overall multi-level Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Intervention approach in humanitarian settings. This article assumes that CB-MHPSS innately require a participatory approach to truly benefit the targeted population. It explores important benefits and challenges of using a participatory approach with CB-MHPSS interventions, as well as identifying key considerations in their design and implementation. A literature review of the PubMed database, Web of Science, The Cochrane Library of Systematic Reviews, and defined 'grey literature' identified 42 relevant articles. Thematic analysis identified dilemmas raised by many of the authors, including: the disconnect between using a participatory community-based approach and evidence-based medicine; using locally derived versus standardised measures; incorporating local mental health expressions and idioms into the intervention versus using standardised diagnostic classifications; empowering communities versus falling into the hands of local power dynamics and agendas; and trying to allow for sufficient time to develop relationships and build trust with the targeted community. The findings can serve to encourage reflexivity and critical thinking in the design and implementation of future CB-MHPSS interventions, which will be required to develop robust evidence that supports CB-MHPSS interventions in displaced communities.

TidsskriftTranscultural Psychiatry
Sider (fra-til)1363461520983626
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 28 jan. 2021

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