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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Washington: Community-based Counselors Help Mitigate Grief, Stress Among Children Orphaned in East Africa

A first-of-its-kind clinical trial involving more than 600 children in Kenya and Tanzania, in which community members were trained to deliver mental health treatment, showed improvement in participants’ trauma-related symptoms up to a year after receiving therapy, new research shows.

Led by the University of Washington and Duke University, researchers trained laypeople as counselors to deliver treatment in both urban and rural communities in Kenya and Tanzania, and evaluated the progress of children and their guardians through sessions of trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy. The study is published online Jan. 22 in JAMA Psychiatry.

“Very few people with mental health needs receive treatment in most places in the world, including many communities in the U.S.,” said lead author Dr. Shannon Dorsey, a UW professor of psychology and adjunct professor of global health, which bridges the University of Washington Schools of Public Health and Medicine. “Training community members, or ‘lay counselors’ to deliver treatment helps increase the availability of services.”

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