Feasibility of a digitized community information detection tool (mCIDT) for mental health

In order to facilitate detection and referral of people with mental health problems from the community, a paper-based detection tool called CIDT was developed, where vignettes are presented alongside the pictures depicting symptoms of a particular mental disorder. The Female Community Health Volunteers (FCHVs) then used this tool to identify hidden cases of mental health problems in the community. Upon identification, the FCHVs provided a referral slip to the person and encouraged to seek mental health services at the health facilities. Although this paper based CIDT had already been tested and had shown promising results in detecting and engaging people with mental health problems to care, there remained few shortcomings especially on the grounds that a) clients often failed to visit the health post due to the loss of referral slip; b) there was limited communication between the FCHV and the health facility regarding the new referral and uptake of services; and c) poor documentation. With increasing access to different technology and most importantly the decreasing cost and higher penetration level of mobile devices and internet over the years, mobile Health (mHealth) has started to revolutionize health care especially the access to information and communication. One aspect of mHealth was to look at tools that directly supported health workers ranging from providing information in a more up to date manner to enabling more effective communication with clients and patients seven classifications of mHealth interventions; health information delivery, reminders, communication platform, data collection platform, test result turnaround, peer or group support and psychological interventions. Thus, this project aimed to extend this work by testing a digital version of the CIDT workflow designed to strengthen the referral chain while maintaining or improving the accuracy of the case- finding procedure.

Objectives: To digitize the existing paper based CIDT and test its feasibility and acceptability to detect mental health illnesses in the community by female community health volunteers

Target group: People with either of 8 mental health problems (depression, antenatal depression, postnatal depression, epilepsy, psychosis, alcohol use disorder, suicide, post-traumatic stress disorder)

Implementation district: 4 VDCs of Sindhuli district

Time frame: April-November 2017

Supported by: Duke Global Health Institute Pilot Grant

Conference presentation:

  1. Feasibility of mhealth technology for community level detection and referral of mental health problems
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