Assessing capability for implementing mental health counselling within primary care facilities in a middle‐income country: A feasibility study

Bronwyn Myers, Erica Breuer, Crick Lund, Petal Petersen Williams, Claire Westhuizen, Carrie Brooke‐sumner, Tracey Naledi, Dan J. Stein, Katherine Sorsdahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Differences in primary care facilities' preparedness for implementing mental health counselling may affect the implementation process but have rarely been studied.

To assess the feasibility of using a novel methodological approach to explore variations in capability for implementing mental health counselling and factors potentially associated with this variation among primary care services in the Western Cape, South Africa.

Staff from 26 facilities participated in discussions about their facility's mental health implementation capability. Three researchers conducted observations of the facility's environment, staff–patient interactions and resources. We used qualitative comparative analysis to identify factors potentially associated with implementation capability.

Facilities appeared to vary in their capability for implementing counselling services. The availability of person‐centred health services, a therapeutic environment and sufficient human resources may be requirements for implementation preparedness. Other factors that seem to support preparedness include the availability of confidential space for counselling and an adequately managed facility.

This study identified several features of well‐functioning primary care facilities. Facilities with these features may be better prepared to implement a new counselling service.

Implications for practice
This method may identify facilities that are poorly prepared for implementation that could benefit from preparedness‐building interventions. Whether differences in preparedness affect counselling outcomes is yet to be established.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-174
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
Issue number5-6
Early online date15 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


  • South Africa
  • implementation capability
  • mental health
  • primary care
  • task sharing


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