Barriers and Facilitators to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in Low-and-Middle-Income Countries: a Scoping Review

Abstract

Introduction

Despite the severe consequences of under-prioritising child and adolescent mental health (CAMH) problems, mental health services for this population remain scarce in low-and-middle-income countries (LAMICs). The purpose of this review was to identify the barriers and facilitators of access to CAMH services in LAMICs.

Method

This study adopted a scoping review methodology. A systematic search of the literature on CAMH in LAMICs from Medline, PsycINFO, PsycARTICLEs, EBSCOHOST Web, Google Scholar, Web of Science and PubMed databases yielded 28 papers meeting the inclusion criteria.

Results

The gap between CAMH needs and service provision results from a paucity of policies, a shortage of CAMH specialists, insufficient financial resources dedicated to CAMH and a scarcity of culturally appropriate CAMH assessment tools. Adequate access to CAMH services in LAMICs requires strategically maximising available limited resources using task sharing.

Conclusion

There is an urgent need to encourage research in the field of CAMH service development in LAMICs to facilitate policy development, implementation and scale-up of CAMH services.

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Funding

This study is an output of the PRogramme for Improving Mental health carE (PRIME). This work was financially supported by the UK Department for International Development (201446).

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G.B.B conceptualised the review, G.B.B and A.J.V conducted the searches, also G.B.B, A.J.V and IP performed the quality assessment. G.B.B drafted the manuscript. A.J.V, A. B and I. P reviewed the manuscript, provided substantive revision and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Gbotemi Bukola Babatunde.

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Babatunde, G.B., van Rensburg, A.J., Bhana, A. et al. Barriers and Facilitators to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in Low-and-Middle-Income Countries: a Scoping Review. Glob Soc Welf 8, 29–46 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40609-019-00158-z

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Keywords

  • Child and adolescent mental health
  • Child and adolescent mental health services
  • Child and adolescent mental health policy