Research Topic

Low-Intensity Interventions for Psychiatric Disorders

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Low-intensity interventions have been developed with the goals of improving access to mental health care for individuals suffering from common mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse. Recently, low-intensity interventions have also been used in the ...

Low-intensity interventions have been developed with the goals of improving access to mental health care for individuals suffering from common mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse. Recently, low-intensity interventions have also been used in the prevention or treatment of more complex mental disorders, for instance psychosis.

Low-intensity interventions use fewer resources than regular interventions, whereas their content may still be intensive for the person receiving them. Low-intensity interventions are therefore usually brief, and they may be delivered by non-professionals such as lay helpers or helpers without formal mental health training. Another characteristic of low-intensity interventions is that they are often facilitated by self-help materials, such as audiotapes, or e-health technology. Low-intensity interventions are for a large part, but not exclusively, based on cognitive behavioral and problem solving techniques.

The aim of this Research Topic is to provide an overview of the current state of evidence regarding the effects of low-intensity interventions across mental disorders. The Topic will include interventions provided to decrease common mental disorders such as depression, anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder, as well as in the context of prevention of common and severe mental disorders (psychosis, suicidal behaviors).

We welcome the submission of papers describing randomized controlled (pilot) evaluations of low intensity interventions, studies on the uptake of these interventions and barriers and facilitators for implementation and scaling-up, studies on predictors for the effect of low-intensity interventions, and systematic reviews and meta-analyses on the effects of low-intensity interventions. Studies carried out in low and middle income settings are especially welcome, as well as studies in refugee populations.


Keywords: low-intensity, prevention, cognitive-behavioral therapy, depression, anxiety disorders


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