Aims and benefits
The project “Improve-MH: Mental Health Promotion for Refugee Parents and Their Children – a Randomized Controlled Treatment Study in Primary Care” aims to help refugee families. By the end of 2018, more than 1.8 million refugees have come to Germany, many of them children. Refugees often suffer from widespread mental health problems, especially depression, anxiety, and trauma-associated disorders.
The planned project aims to improve Arabic-speaking refugee parents' mental health and prevent the development of mental health problems in their children (0-6-year-olds). This can be done by strengthening their parenting skills and helping them tackle their mental health problems. For 10 weeks, the parents receive an intervention (Improve treatment), which consists of
1) a short intervention to deal with symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression (by general practitioners),
2) an established online training to encourage a positive parenting style (Triple P Online), and
3) accompanying telephone calls (by psychologists).
The Improve treatment will be compared with the previous standard treatment of depression, anxiety, and stress in primary care (general medicine). The cultural sensitivity of the measurements, barriers and requirements of the interventions, and cost-effectiveness will also be evaluated.
Goals of the IMPROVE-MH Program:
- Development and establishment of Improve Treatment in primary care (P1)
- Comparison of the effectiveness of Improve Treatment to conventional treatment in primary care, concerning the health outcomes of refugee parents and their children (P1)
- Investigation of the cultural compatibility of used measuring instruments (P2-1)
- Undistorted and immediate collection of the relevant variables utilizing a cell phone survey (Ecological momentary Assessment, P2-1)
- Process evaluation of the subproject P1: Analysis of the experiences and opinions of general practitioners on primary care before, during and after the Improve-Intervention (P2-2)
- Analysis of the Improve treatment's cost-effectiveness, primarily at the level of parents and secondarily at the level of their children (P3)
Parents with young children represent a particularly large group of refugees in Germany. The Improve Mental Health (IMPROVE-MH) project aims to improve the mental health of these refugee families. To this end, the parents' mental health and parenting skills are to be supported to promote their children's healthy development.
In order to compare the effectiveness of the IMPROVE intervention with the usual treatment, a so-called Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) is carried out in addition to the traditional survey methods. Participants will be surveyed daily for one week using a cell phone app. In this way, the behavior and experience of the participants will be recorded directly and without bias. In addition, the cultural sensitivity and quality of the traditional surveys will be investigated.
SP2.2: Hausärztliche Perspektiven zur Versorgung von Flüchtlingsfamilien mit psychisch belasteten Eltern
Hausärzt*innen sind bei Problemen oft die ersten Ansprechpartner*innen für Flüchtlingsfamilien. Da das Aufwachsen mit einem psychisch belasteten Elternteil ein großer Risikofaktor für die Entwicklung psychischer Probleme bei Kindern darstellt, werden im Rahmen der IMPROVE-MH-Studie Eltern mit Kleinkindern eine Intervention in Hausarztpraxen erhalten. So kann ein positiver Erziehungsstil vermittelt und ein gesundes Heranwachsen der Kinder gefördert werden. Teilstudie 2.2 evaluiert die Umsetzung dieser Intervention in den Hausarztpraxen.
To examine the cost-effectiveness of the IMPROVE intervention program compared, parents are invited to take part in interviews on mental health outcomes and fill in questionnaires prior, during and after the treatment. The aim is to investigate, if the Improve intervention shows a favorable and acceptable incremental cost-effectiveness ratio compared to treatment as usual.