Original Research

Family Psycho-Social Involvement Intervention for severe mental illness in Uganda

Racheal Alinaitwe, Musisi Seggane, Andrew Turiho, Victoria Bird, Stefan Priebe, Nelson Sewankambo
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 30 | a2138 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v30i0.2138 | © 2024 Racheal Alinaitwe, Musisi Seggane, Andrew Turiho, Victoria Bird, Stefan Priebe, Nelson Sewankambo | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 July 2023 | Published: 30 January 2024

About the author(s)

Racheal Alinaitwe, Department of Psychiatry, College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
Musisi Seggane, Department of Psychiatry, College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
Andrew Turiho, Department of Psychiatry, College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
Victoria Bird, Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry, Queen Mary University of London, London, United Kingdom
Stefan Priebe, Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry, Queen Mary University of London, London, United Kingdom
Nelson Sewankambo, Department of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda

Abstract

Background: Treatment rates for severe mental illness (SMI) are low in low- and middle-income countries because of limited resources. Enlisting family support could be effective and low cost in improving patient outcomes.

Aim: The article assess the feasibility, acceptability and estimates of efficacy of Family Psychosocial Involvement Intervention (FAPII) for patients with SMI.

Setting: Masaka Regional Referral Hospital and Mityana District Hospital in Uganda.

Methods: This was a controlled pilot study with two sites randomly assigned as intervention and control. Thirty patients each with one or two family members and six mental health professionals were recruited at the intervention site. Five patients, their family members and two mental health professionals met monthly for 6 months to discuss pre-agreed mental health topics. Patient outcomes were assessed at baseline, 6- and 12-months and analysed using paired t-tests. The trial was prospectively registered (ISRCTN25146122).

Results: At 6 and 12 months, there was significant improvement in the QoL in the intervention group compared to the control (p = 0.001). There was significant symptom reduction in the intervention group at 6 and 12 months (p < 0.001). Family Psychosocial Involvement Intervention affected better treatment adherence at 6 and 12 months (p = 0.035 and p < 0.001, respectively) compared to the control arm.

Conclusion: Family Psychosocial Involvement Intervention improved QoL, medication adherence, reduced stigma and symptoms among patients with SMI. The authors recommend involving families in the care of patients with SMI in Uganda, with FAPII employing culturally sensitive psychotherapy.

Contribution: The results support involvement of family in the care of patients with SMI.


Keywords

severe mental illness; family psycho-social support intervention; resource-oriented; efficacy; Uganda

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

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