Group Intervention for Adolescent Anxiety and Depression: Outcomes of a Randomized Trial with Adolescents in Kenya

Youth mental health interventions in low-resource communities may benefit from including empirically supported elements, using stigma-free content, and using trained lay-providers. We developed and evaluated such an intervention, targeting adolescent depression and anxiety in Kenya, where mental health care is limited by social stigma and a paucity of providers.
51 adolescents participated
14 to 17
Students were aged 14 to 17
(d = .32) (d = .54)
Significant reductions in depression (d = .32) and anxiety (d = .54)
(d = .32)
Significant improvements in academic performance (d = .32)

The Challenge

In impoverished regions with few resources, adolescents face significant mental health needs. Stigmas and a scarcity of services can make it difficult for these teens to access the help they need.

The Solution

A group intervention called Shamiri Intervention, administered by trained youth lay-providers, offers a potentially game-changing approach. This program focuses on reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety, without directly labeling the intervention as a treatment for these conditions.

The Study

A study was conducted with a control group participating in a study skills program, while the test group took part in the Shamiri Intervention.

The Procedure

The study aimed to measure the effects of the intervention on self-reported depression, anxiety, perceived control, social support, and academic grades.

The Results

The Shamiri Iintervention had significant positive effects on self-reported depression and anxiety, and also on academic performance. Interestingly, the intervention did not have significant effects on perceived control and overall social support.

In Conclusion

Our study suggests that a low-cost group intervention can have a significant positive impact on adolescents' mental health and academic performance in resource-limited settings. More studies are needed to further investigate the robustness of this intervention, but the preliminary results are promising.

Read our full study.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Explore other cases


Research Informs Our Work

See below on how research guides us every step of the way:

Science can help us shape the future

The goal of our research is to develop interventions that can help youth actualize their life outcomes, identify which interventions work and why, and develop and test novel and accessible approaches to dissemination and scaling in order to maximize our impact.

Open science

Open science allows us to collaborate and share our work with the world. Our data and publications are open access.

Multicultural collaboration

Multicultural and interdisciplinary collaboration amplifies the communities that we serve.

Contextualized research

Research is not done in a silo. It is done with and for communities. Context matters.

"Culture brings us together, and allows us to remain successful across many generations of Shamirians. It is what makes us unique."

Tom Osborn
Founder & CEO | Shamiri