Task-Sharing Psychosocial Support with Refugees and Asylum Seekers: Reflections and Recommendations for Practice from the PROSPER Study

Anna Chiumento*, Leah Billows, Annette Mackinnon, Rachel McCluskey, Ross G. White, Naila Khan, Atif Rahman, Grahame Smith, Christopher Dowrick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
62 Downloads (Pure)


To address the unmet need for accessible mental health services for refugees and asylum seekers in high-income countries, the PROSPER study is testing implementation of the World Health Organization Problem Management Plus (PM+) intervention. Incorporating task-sharing strategies, the intervention is delivered by Peer Lay Therapists with lived experience of seeking asylum or migration. The PM+ training adopts a cascade apprenticeship model, where Master Trainers train and supervise Wellbeing Mentors; who subsequently train and supervise the Peer Lay Therapists. We describe application of this training and supervision approach in PROSPER, drawing on Master Trainer and Wellbeing Mentor perspectives. We then reflect on our experiences, highlighting logistical challenges when working with refugee and asylum-seeking Peer Lay Therapists, the strategies to promote their ongoing engagement and the opportunities for team and personal growth. A core learning point has been the role of straddling the intervention and research components of the PROSPER study. Based on our experiences, we make recommendations for others adopting a task-sharing approach by training refugees and asylum seekers as Peer Lay Therapists in high-income countries, so that this might inform service programming and/or associated research activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-74
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper represents independent research funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. All rights reserved.


  • asylum seekers
  • mental health and psychosocial support
  • Problem Management Plus (PM+)
  • refugee
  • task-sharing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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