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WHO mental health gap action programme (mhGAP) intervention guide: updated systematic review on evidence and impact

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Article numberebmental-2021-300254
Pages (from-to)124-130
Number of pages7
JournalEvidence-Based Mental Health
Issue number3
Accepted/In press2021
Published26 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: Funding This work was funded by the WHO. RK is supported by a King’s IoPPN Clinician Investigator Scholarship for her PhD and by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Global Health Research Unit on Health System Strengthening in sub-Saharan Africa (ASSET), King’s College London (GHRU 16/136/54) using UK aid from the UK government. JS is supported by a postdoctoral training award, funded by Fonds de recherche santé – Québec (#284461). GT is supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration South London at King’s College London NHS Foundation Trust, and by the NIHR Asset Global Health Unit award. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care. GT also receives support from the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health under award number R01MH100470 (Cobalt study). GT is supported by the UK Medical Research Council in relation the Emilia (MR/S001255/1) and Indigo Partnership (MR/R023697/1) awards. Publisher Copyright: © 2021 BMJ Publishing Group. All rights reserved. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

King's Authors


Question There is a large worldwide gap between the service need and provision for mental, neurological and substance use disorders. WHO's Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) intervention guide (IG), provides evidence-based guidance and tools for assessment and integrated management of priority disorders. Our 2017 systematic review identified 33 peer-reviewed studies describing mhGAP-IG implementation in low-income and middle-income countries. Study selection and analysis We searched MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, Web of Knowledge, Scopus, CINAHL, LILACS, ScieELO, Cochrane, PubMed databases, 3ie, Google Scholar and citations of our review, on 24 November 2020. We sought evidence, experience and evaluations of the mhGAP-IG, app or mhGAP Humanitarian IG, from any country, in any language. We extracted data from included papers, but heterogeneity prevented meta-Analysis. Findings Of 2621 results, 162 new papers reported applications of the mhGAP-IG. They described mhGAP training courses (59 references), clinical applications (n=49), research uses (n=27), contextual adaptations (n=13), economic studies (n=7) and other educational applications (n=7). Most were conducted in the African region (40%) and South-East Asia (25%). Studies demonstrated improved knowledge, attitudes and confidence post-Training and improved symptoms and engagement with care, post-implementation. Research studies compared mhGAP-IG-enhanced usual care with task-shared psychological interventions and adaptation studies optimised mhGAP-IG implementation for different contexts. Economic studies calculated human resource requirements of scaling up mhGAP-IG implementation and other educational studies explored its potential for repurposing. Conclusions The diverse, expanding global mhGAP-IG literature demonstrates substantial impact on training, patient care, research and practice. Priorities for future research should be less-studied regions, severe mental illness and contextual adaptation of brief psychological interventions.

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