Project Lead(s): Aneeta Pasha, Saira Khowaja
Depression is the most frequently encountered mental health disorder in Pakistan. Due to the stigma associated with mental health diseases, those who suffer often remain undiagnosed, misdiagnosed or untreated. There is an urgency to develop new interventions to increase early detection and treatment of mental illness, especially in the case of disease co-morbidity. The widespread use of mobile phones provides a unique opportunity for the implementation of mHealth in Pakistan, allowing cost-effective, efficient and integrated screening and detection, analysis and follow-up in a context of high patient volumes.
This project will focus on three community-based lung health centres in Karachi, a city with an estimated population of 20 million. Community Mental Health Workers (CMHWs) will use an mHealth application to mass screen for depression and anxiety, and will be trained to provide basic counselling support to those in need. The mHealth system will include an interactive Short Message Service (SMS) delivery tool to provide support messages for positive mental health to all individuals screened.