Innovation summary

The Philippines has a dire shortage of mental health professionals, and access to mental health care is difficult, if not impossible. In addition, the cost of drugs is prohibitively high for most of the population. With the exception of severe psychosis in major cities, mental health goes untreated, consequently aiding to cost and suffering.

This innovation seeks to create a scalable model for mental health care delivery, initially for youth, through mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) delivered by para-professionals.

Impact summary

“We believe this project marks the beginning of a significant increase in access to mental health care in the Philippines, and the lessons learned will have global applications." 


-[Tita Angangco, Executive Director, Centre for Mindfulness Studies]

This innovation is funded by Grand Challenges Canada.

Innovation details

This innovation tests the creation of an innovative model that will enable the delivery of alternative mental health treatment to children with mood disorders.  

The project has three main elements: 

  1. To catalyze the creation of a centre of excellence for mindfulness in the Philippines
  2. To execute a randomized controlled trial that tests the core hypothesis that paraprofessionals can deliver MBCT effectively
  3. To operate a model clinic delivering MBCT for a sufficient period to demonstrate its economic viability

Target Audience

The project will focus initially on children whose backgrounds present severe challenges to their mental health. These challenges include, but are not limited to chronic poverty, difficult circumstances, trauma, abuse and other forms of crisis.

Mental Health Treatment: MBCT

Following the creation of a centre of excellence for mindfulness, the project will employ and train para-professional staff to provide MBCT (a form of group psychotherapy) to the selected population. In this type of therapy, the “therapist” focuses on helping “patients” learn coping and resilience skills rather than focusing on the particulars of an individual’s problems. The group itself becomes a supportive element in the overall therapy, eliminating the need for an extensively psychiatry trained facilitator.


If these steps are successful, the research team plans to scale this program, where the model clinic becomes the first in a national chain of franchisees in the Philippines incorporated in a social enterprise. The team also envisages that other countries, such as Canada, may see benefit in applying the lessons learned. 



Evaluation methods

A randomized control trial will be conducted to evaluate this innovation.

Cost of implementation

The budget of the project, exclusive of transition-to-scale, is approximately $232,000 USD over two years.

How useful did you find this content?: 
Your rating: None
No votes yet
Log in or become a member to contribute to the discussion.

Submit your innovation

Create your own page to tell the MHIN community about your innovation.




Similar content