Our multidisciplinary group of African and UK researchers will work with youth in Ghana and Zimbabwe to adapt and evaluate a stepped care intervention for youth aged 15 to 24 with depression or anxiety, which is suitable to be delivered through task-shifting to non-specialists.
We have previously shown the acceptability and effectiveness of a stepped-care intervention called the Friendship Bench for working age adults in Zimbabwe. This comprises brief psychological therapy, with the option of adding an antidepressant for those who do not recover. We now wish to adapt this for youth.
In the Formative Phase we will apply a theory-informed participatory approach to adapt the intervention, and develop implementation strategies in Zimbabwe and Ghana. Based on country priorities and context, we will tailor the intervention in Ghana for those aged 15-18 enrolled in Ghana’s free senior high school system and in Zimbabwe for youth aged 15-24 in schools, colleges and community health settings including sexual health services.
In the Implementation Phase, in Zimbabwe, we will run a single-arm study to test feasibility of implementing through community, health and education systems, and assess preliminary outcomes. In Ghana we will run a fully powered RCT in senior high schools in Navrongo, to test the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and implementation of our intervention compared to control.