Digital technologies help nonspecialist to offer mental health care in low-resource settings
Text messaging, mobile apps, and other digital technologies are being used in innovative ways to support nonspecialist health workers in increasing access to mental health care in low- and middle-income countries (LIMCs), according to a narrative review in the March/April issue of Harvard Review of Psychiatry. The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.
“There is immense potential to leverage the increasing availability and reach of digital technologies to enhance the capacity, skills, and support for nonspecialist health workers in low-resource settings, all in an effort to alleviate the global burden of mental disorders,” write John A. Naslund, PhD, of Harvard Medical School and coauthors. They summarize promising programs that use digital platforms to support delivery of mental health care in resource-poor areas around the world.
Digital Tech Supports Efforts to ‘Extend the Reach of the Mental Health Workforce’
A shortage of trained professionals poses major obstacles to delivering adequate mental health care worldwide, and especially in low- and middle-income countries. “Task sharing” – involving community health workers and other nonspecialists in delivering evidence-based psychosocial treatments – has emerged as a promising approach for addressing the global treatment gap.