The modules of mental health programs implemented in schools in low- and middle-income countries: findings from a systematic literature review

Gimba, Solomon Musa, Harris, Paul, Saito, Amornrat, Udah, Hyacinth, Martin, Averil, and Wheeler, Amanda J. (2020) The modules of mental health programs implemented in schools in low- and middle-income countries: findings from a systematic literature review. BMC Public Health, 20. 1581.

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Background: Secondary schools in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) provide health promotion, preventive, and early intervention services. Nevertheless, literature indicates that the modules of these services are either adapted or modified from existing mental health programs in developed countries. The literature also highlights the provision of non-comprehensive services (mental health promotion, prevention, and early intervention), in LMICs. These findings inform the need for undertaking this systematic literature review. The aim of this review was thus to identify the modules of school-based mental health programs (SBMHP) that have been implemented in LMICs to guide the development of a culturally sensitive comprehensive mental health program for adolescents in a LMIC country.

Methods: The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement was used to guide this review. The following databases were searched in September 2018, to identify the relevant literature: PubMed, CINAHL, Scopus, Web of Science, PsycINFO, and ERIC. The search was conducted by the first author and reviewed by the authors.

Results: Following the screening process, a total of 11 papers were identified and reviewed for quality. The systematic review highlighted that the mental health programs provided in schools included: an introduction module, a communication and relationship module, a psychoeducation module, a cognitive skills module, a behavioral skills module, establishing social networks for recovery and help seeking behavioral activities and a summary/conclusion module.

Conclusion: This review sheds light on the characteristics of the programs in LMICs. Two programs were found to be universal in nature. Five programs were directed at key risk factors or at-risk groups, and four were early intervention programs. The review also revealed that only one program out of the 11 programs included modules for parents. The synthesis indicated that all the identified programs were adapted or modified from existing programs. The dearth of comprehensive programs in LMICs was also revealed. Lastly, the review revealed seven modules that can be useful for developing a SBMHP.

Item ID: 64970
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1471-2458
Keywords: Secondary school, Mental health programs, Adolescents, LMIC
Copyright Information: © The Author(s). 2020 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Funders: Griffith University
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2020 00:05
FoR Codes: 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4409 Social work > 440902 Counselling, wellbeing and community services @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920410 Mental Health @ 100%
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