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Translation, adaptation, and pilot of a guided self-help intervention to reduce psychological distress in South Sudanese refugees in Uganda

  • W. A. Tol (a1) (a2), J. Augustinavicius (a2), K. Carswell (a3), F. L. Brown (a4) (a5), A. Adaku (a1) (a6), M. R. Leku (a1), C. García-Moreno (a7), P. Ventevogel (a8), R. G. White (a9) and M. van Ommeren (a3)...
Abstract
Background.

In this period of unprecedented levels of displacement, scalable interventions are needed to address mental health concerns of forced migrants in low-resource settings. This paper describes the adaptation and piloting of a guided, multi-media, self-help intervention, Self-Help Plus (SH+), which was developed to reduce psychological distress in large groups of people affected by adversity.

Methods.

Using a phased approach that included community consultations, cognitive interviewing, facilitator training, pilot implementation, and a qualitative process evaluation, we adapted SH+ for use among South Sudanese refugees in a refugee settlement in northern Uganda.

Results.

The SH+ materials, including audio-recorded sessions and an accompanying illustrated manual, were translated into Juba Arabic. Cognitive interviewing primarily resulted in adaptations to language with some minor adaptations to content. Facilitator training and supervision led to further suggested changes to delivery methods. An uncontrolled pilot study (n = 65) identified changes in the expected direction on measures of psychological distress, functional impairment, depression, wellbeing, and psychological flexibility. The process evaluation resulted in further adaptations to intervention materials and the decision to focus future effectiveness evaluations of the intervention in its current form on South Sudanese female refugees.

Conclusions.

We found that this potentially scalable, guided self-help intervention could be adapted for and feasibly implemented among female South Sudanese refugees in northern Uganda. These findings lay the groundwork for a future rigorous evaluation of SH+ in this context.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: Wietse A. Tol, PCAF Uganda, Plot 855, Mawanda Rd, PO Box 20129, Nakawa, Kampala, Uganda. (Email: wtol@pcaf.org)
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