Improving the mental health of refugee men through guided self-help: A scalable intervention for a critical link in humanitarian programming

Grant awarded: £587,779

Lead organisation: Johns Hopkins University

Partnering organisations: HealthRight International, WHO, UNHCR, Makerere University, Princeton University, University of Liverpool, Arua Regional Referral Hospital

Project length: 2018-2021

Study locations: Uganda

Principal Investigator: Wietse A. Tol


The study will examine the effectiveness of a scalable psychological intervention adapted for male refugees to reduce psychological distress and associated risks. The research aims are:
1) To adapt an existing multi-media self-help intervention (Self-Help Plus, SH+) to ensure active engagement of male South Sudanese refugees
2) To assess the impact of SH+ on men’s psychological distress
3) To assess the impact of SH+ on a range of secondary outcomes including alcohol misuse, anger, perpetration of violence against women and girls (VAW), and economic outcomes

Expected outcomes:

A number of outcomes are expected:-
1) Knowledge on how to increase relevance, feasibility, acceptability; reduce barriers to psychological interventions with male refugees
2) Results from a large cluster RCT on the effectiveness of a multi-media guided self-help intervention package in reducing psychological distress and symptoms, alcohol misuse, and functional impairment; improving economic outcomes; reducing perpetration of VAWG, self-identified psychosocial problems and improving wellbeing among South Sudanese refugees in northern Uganda.
3) Availability of psychometrically sound tools to assess psychological distress and symptoms, alcohol use, economic outcomes, and perpetration of VAWG in the Juba Arabic-speaking South Sudanese population.
4) Finalisation and publication by WHO of a culturally-adapted Juba Arabic version of the SH+ intervention package for use with male South Sudanese refugees.
5) Availability of an English language generic version of the SH+ intervention for males, which can be further adapted for other cultures and settings

Elrha is a registered charity in England and Wales (1177110).

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