In a significant randomized clinical trial involving 413 youths in Kenya, we explored whether "Shamiri," a 4-week group intervention focused on positive psychological principles, could effectively reduce depression and anxiety symptoms in adolescents. The trial's results offer groundbreaking insights for mental health care, especially in low-resource settings like sub-Saharan Africa.
In a significant randomized clinical trial involving 413 high school students in Kenya, we explored whether "Shamiri," a 4-week group intervention focused on positive psychological principles, could effectively reduce depression and anxiety symptoms in adolescents. The trial's results offer groundbreaking insights for mental health care, especially in low-resource settings like sub-Saharan Africa.
The central question of this study was whether a scalable psychological intervention like Shamiri, which emphasizes growth mindset, gratitude, and value affirmation, could alleviate depression and anxiety symptoms in Kenyan adolescents. The study's goal was to provide a low-cost, effective mental health solution in a region where resources are scarce.
This school-based trial was conducted in Nairobi and Kiambu County, Kenya. Participants were adolescents aged 13 to 18 years, exhibiting elevated symptoms of depression or anxiety. The intervention, Shamiri, was delivered by laypersons in group settings, contrasting with a control group focused on study skills. The primary outcomes measured were changes in depression and anxiety symptoms, assessed at various intervals including a 7-month follow-up.
The findings were both significant and impactful:
Shamiri stands out as a promising intervention for adolescent mental health in low-resource environments. Its effectiveness in reducing depression and anxiety symptoms, coupled with its cost-effectiveness and scalability, makes it an attractive model for global mental health solutions.
Further research is required to establish the clinical significance of the outcomes and to explore ways to reduce attrition rates. This kind of intervention holds promise for broader application in areas facing limited mental health resources and professional shortages.
The trial is registered with the Pan-African Clinical Trials Registry (Identifier: PACTR201906525818462).
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