Introduction

Skilled mental health practitioners are highly limited in most low- and middle-income countries. As such, improving the availability of psychosocial treatments is one of the priority interventions recommended by the recent Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development (2018). The Commission advocates for the scaling-up of a stepped-care approach with an efficient triage system that employs task-sharing and the involvement of a large cadre of non-specialized workers in order to achieve a balanced model of care.

Fundamental to the success of this strategy is to develop the capacity of primary care and community-based health care staff and providers in other relevant platforms, e.g. schools, churches, or the criminal justice system.

The mHub solution

To support the development of capacity at the non-specialist level, we create two dedicated networks of lay practitioners who provide services to individuals with mild to medium mental health conditions.

The first consists of selected community members who fulfil certain minimum requirements and have an interest to work as freelance Community Mental Health Workers (CMHWs). The second consists of community leaders representing a variety of stakeholders, such as local government authorities, health centers, schools, churches, and civil society organizations. They are interested to develop personal skills as Mental Health Facilitators (MHFs).

For CMHWs, we provide the skills and knowledge needed to assess and manage people with priority mental health conditions, as well as to carry out prevention and promotion measures. They receive regular training as well as ongoing supervision, mentoring, and support from our in-house team and international partners. We engage in continuous quality management, and the services are documented, monitored, and evaluated.

For MHFs, we introduce basic mental health care knowledge and skills based on the Mental Health Facilitator curriculum of the National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc, a leading U.S. accreditation body. In addition to the initial training, a limited amount of mentoring and support are available from our in-house team and international partners.