Community-based mental health and well-being interventions for older adults in low- and middle-income countries: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Clarissa Giebel, Mark Gabbay, Ross White

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
64 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Mental health support is often scarce in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), with mental health stigmatised. Older adults are some of the most vulnerable members of society and may require specific types of mental health support. The aim of this mixed-methods systematic review and meta-analysis was to explore the types, components, and efficacy of psychosocial community-based mental health interventions for older adults (aged 60+ years) residing in LMIC.
Methods: Six databases were searched in August 2021. Studies published since 2000 were included if they collected primary quantitative or qualitative data on community-based interventions for improving mental health for older adults residing in LMICs, focusing on improving mental health and well-being outcomes. Full texts were screened by two researchers.
Results: From 24,378 citations identified, 40 studies met eligibility criteria. Across 12 countries, interventions were categorised into those focusing on (1) Established forms of psychological therapy; (2) Exercise; (3) Education; (4) Social engagement; (5) Multi-component. Most interventions were effective in reducing levels of depression, anxiety, and improving well-being, including reminiscence therapy, different types of socialising, and breathing and laughter exercises. Some interventions reported no benefits and those that did at times failed to report continued benefits at follow-up. Given the variations in intervention type and delivery, cultures, and outcome measures used, underpinning factors of intervention success or failure were difficult to establish.
Conclusions: Psychosocial interventions for older adults in LMIC need to be adapted to local contexts depending on culture and population needs. Existing interventions and their components can be used as a foundation to produce adapted and multi-component interventions, to tackle growing and inadequate mental health care provision in LMIC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number773
Number of pages27
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sept 2022


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