Accessible Mental Health Care: Needs and Capacity Assessment and Intervention Development for “The Kosovo-Strong Minds Programme”
Background and Rationale: Mental health care services remain severely limited in many low resourced settings despite the large need for attending population’s needs. Mental health care needs assessments are an essential first step to implement effective interventions towards improving mental health at a population level. Kosovo lacks data on current mental health care needs although it is known that mental health care resources are limited and access to mental health services continues to be scarce. Low-barrier, brief, evidence-based interventions offer a potential solution to this problem and can be integrated in low-resourced primary healthcare settings such as Kosovo.
Overall objective: I propose to assess current mental health care needs within Kosovo’s primary health care system and use the resulting insights to develop a psychosocial intervention that directly responds to contextual needs of the Kosovar population.
Methods: I will assess mental health needs within Kosovo’s public primary health care system using an interdisciplinary mixed methods approach. The results of this assessment will be used to develop an adequate intervention for the Kosovo population. Validating this new and community driven intervention will include an evaluation of the feasibility and acceptability of the program at the providers’ level with the goal of building essential preliminary data for future testing of the intervention through a clinical trial.
Expected Results: I will generate the first mental health care needs report integrating organizational data and feedback from key stakeholders (i.e. policy makers, health administrators, providers, clients). The report will elucidate on access to mental health care and barriers associated with treating common mental health disorders (CMHD) in Kosovo including a deep analysis of provider’s stigma towards mental health. Second, I will build the first culturally adapted psychosocial program to treat CMHD in Kosovo and generate preliminary data to test the resulting program through a subsequent clinical trial.
Impact: This research will inform scientists, health administrators and policy makers about 1) the mental health care needs of the Kosovar primary health system, 2) the impact of evaluating mental health care capacity within low-resourced areas and 3) a culturally adapted psychosocial intervention. It sets the critical preliminary data to build a larger trial to test the effectiveness and implementation of a psychosocial intervention within the primary health care system at the national level. Last, this work would represent a key next step towards establishing myself as a leading researcher in public mental health nationally as well as globally.