Introducing Supported Self-Management for Depression to Primary Care in Vietnam: A Feasibility Study in Preparation for a Randomized Controlled Trial

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Introduction: Although depression is a major contributor to the global burden of disease, services remain scarce in many low- and middle-income countries. In Vietnam, depression services are limited, and the government has recently prioritized primary care and community-based service integration. We conducted a pilot study in 2 districts of Hanoi to test the feasibility of (a) introducing a supported self-management (SSM) intervention for adult depression in primary care in Vietnam, and (b) conducting a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to test the effectiveness of the intervention. Method: We conducted focus groups with providers (n = 16) and community members (n = 32) to assess the appropriateness of an Antidepressant Skills Workbook for use in Vietnam. We trained providers (n = 23) to screen patients using the Self-Reporting Questionnaire-20 (SRQ-20) depression scale and to deliver SSM for a 2-month period. A total of 71 patients were eligible to participate in the study, with depression (SRQ-20) and disability (World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule 2.0) scores assessed at baseline and 1 and 2 months. Results: Study results demonstrate the feasibility of conducting a full RCT in Vietnam and suggest that SSM is an appropriate care model for the Vietnamese context. There was a statistically significant decrease in depression symptoms on the SRQ-20 and in functional disability in all domains for the World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule 2.). Conclusion: Feasibility study results suggested that a full RCT was warranted. An unanticipated outcome of the study was the uptake of the model by the Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs in 2 additional provinces.

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