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This BMC Psychiatry research paper, ‘Problem Management Plus (PM+) for common mental disorders in a humanitarian setting in Pakistan; study protocol for a randomised controlled trial (RCT)’ is based on WHO and their partners’ ‘Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of simplified psychological support in conflict-affected Pakistan’ research project commissioned by ELRHA and funded by The Department for International Development (DFID) and the Wellcome Trust.
In humanitarian settings common mental disorders (depression, anxiety disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder) are highly prevalent. The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed Problem Management Plus (PM+), a 5-session, individual psychological intervention program, delivered by paraprofessionals that addresses common mental disorders in people in communities affected by adversity. The objectives of this study are to test effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the locally adapted PM+ compared to Treatment as usual (TAU) in Peshawar District, Pakistan.
A randomised controlled trial will be conducted in 346 primary care attendees in 3 health care centres in Peshawar District, Pakistan. After informed consent, primary care attendees with high levels of psychological distress according to the General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12) and functional impairment (WHO Disability Assessment Schedule 2.0 (WHODAS)) will be assigned to PM+ (n = 173) or TAU (n = 173). At baseline, 1 week and 3 months following PM+, independent assessors will assess psychological distress with the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and functional disability with the WHODAS. Secondary outcomes are posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, and client-perceived priority problems. Further, cost-effectiveness will be assessed using the Service Receipt Inventory (SRI).

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