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Description and predictive factors of individual outcomes in a refugee camp based mental health intervention (Beirut, Lebanon)

  • 2013/01/17
Type of publication
  • Articles
Authors
  • Bastin P
  • Bastard M
  • Rossel L
  • Melgar P
  • Jones A
  • Antierens A
Themes
  • Mental Health
Abstract
 
BACKGROUND
There is little evidence on the effectiveness of services for the care of people with mental disorders among refugee populations. Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) has established a mental health centre in a mixed urban-refugee population in Beirut to respond to the significant burden of mental health problems. Patients received comprehensive care through a multidisciplinary team. A cohort of people with common and severe mental disorders has been analysed between December 2008 and June 2011 to evaluate individual outcomes of treatment in terms of functionality.
 
METHODS
All patients diagnosed with mental disorders were included in the study. The Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) and the Self Reporting Questionnaire-20 items (SRQ 20) were used as tools for baseline assessment, monitoring and evaluation of patients. Predictors of evolution of SRQ20 and GAF over visits were explored using a linear mixed model.
 
RESULTS
Up to June 2011, 1144 patients were followed, 63.7% of them Lebanese, 31.8% Palestinians and 1.2% Iraqis. Females represented 64.2% of the patient population. Mean age was 39.2 years (28.5-46.5). The most frequent primary diagnoses were depressive disorders (28.8%), anxiety disorders (15.6%) and psychosis (11.5%). A lower baseline SRQ20 score/higher baseline GAF score (indicators of severity), being diagnosed with anxiety (compared to being diagnosed with depression or psychosis) and a higher level of education were associated with better outcomes.
 
DISCUSSION
In this MSF program, we observed a significant decrease of SRQ20 individual scores and a significant increase of individual GAF scores. This corresponded to an improvement in the functionality of our patients. Analysis of the predictors of this positive evolution indicates that we need to adapt our model for the more severe and less educated patients. It also makes us reflect on the length of the individual follow-up. Further research could include a qualitative evaluation of the intervention. Results of this study have been presented at the World Congress of the World Federation for Mental Health in Cape Town, October 2011.