Addressing South Africa's mental health treatment gap by implementing evidence-based interventions through task-sharing within the healthcare system

Friday, August 30th
16:00 - 17:00 

This symposium will delve into research exploring the integration of mental health into healthcare services through task sharing. Task sharing entails formally reallocating tasks traditionally handled by specialist mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists and psychologists, to healthcare workers without specialized mental health training. This approach aims to enhance access to mental health services, particularly in regions like South Africa where human resources in this field are limited. The Programme for Improving Mental Health (PRIME) will first be highlighted. PRIME was established as a way to find solutions to the mental health treatment gap through research into the implementation and scaling up of treatment programmes for mental illness in low-resource settings. Secondly, two programs demonstrating the acceptability, feasibility, and effectiveness of task-sharing evidence-based interventions for patients presenting with substance use problems, depression, and/or anxiety at healthcare facilities will be presented.


Dr Emily Garman - SA


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Prof Katherine Sorsdahl - SA

Teachable Moment & MIND

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Implementing youth-focused community mental health prevention interventions via task-sharing

Saturday August 31st
09:30 - 10:30

To effectively tackle the substantial mental health treatment gap in low- and middle-income nations, notably in places like South Africa, it's evident that enhancing treatment services alone won't suffice. It's imperative to adopt innovative strategies to prevent the emergence of mental health issues. This entails implementing mental health promotion and prevention initiatives within community settings like schools, after school programmes, and through digital innovations. In our upcoming symposium, three speakers will delve into the use of task-shared evidence-based interventions to prevent the onset of mental health problems among adolescents.


Mirriam Mkhize - SA

EASE intervention for adolescents aged 10-14

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Chesney Ward-Smith - SA

#FTM-intervention for older adolescents aged 15-18

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Prof Crick Lund - SA

ALIVE intervention for adolescents aged 13-15

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