Driving EASE forward
“In most of the settings where we work, a lack of trained mental health professionals is a major barrier to providing the psychological care young people need. There is an urgent need for interventions that can be safely and effectively delivered by non-specialists to reduce distress and improve wellbeing - particularly in situations where there are significant and diverse mental health needs. EASE is designed to meet these needs.”
Dr. Felicity Brown, Senior Researcher
- Young adolescents affected by adversity face significant barriers to accessing quality mental healthcare.
- The mental health ‘treatment gap’ is estimated to be 85 per cent for youth in low-income countries - and in countries affected by armed conflict the figure is even higher.
- Without adequate access to robust mental healthcare, young people are at increased vulnerability to experiencing persistent mental health difficulties.
EASE is a group psychological intervention, incorporating evidence-based strategies for dealing with emotional disorders in children and young people. The intervention is made up of seven group sessions for adolescents and three sessions for caregivers. The programme for adolescents predominantly focuses on understanding emotions, stress management, behaviour activation and problem solving.
Relevant and adaptable
The effectiveness of EASE is currently being evaluated in Lebanon, Jordan, Pakistan and Tanzania. In Lebanon, War Child has conducted a needs assessment and cultural adaptation to ensure that EASE is relevant and applicable to the local context. An initial pilot of the locally-adapted intervention in Lebanon has shown that EASE is acceptable and feasible to implement.
Grounded in practice
EASE is grounded in evidence-based practice. The main research aim is to measure whether adolescents’ psychosocial distress is reduced after taking part in EASE. War Child is responsible for the evaluation of EASE in Lebanon. An initial pilot was undertaken to test the feasibility of the intervention and the validity of the tools and methodology used in research activities.
The development of the EASE intervention is led by the World Health Organization. War Child’s evaluation of EASE fits within the work of the STRENGTHS consortium, which is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme. The STRENGTHS consortium is evaluating the implementation of non-specialist mental health interventions for adolescents and adults in eight different countries in the Europe and MENA regions.
Our research agenda
A full-scale trial is currently ongoing which aims to measure whether adolescents’ psychosocial distress is reduced after taking part in EASE. The findings of this trial will inform the broader implementation of the intervention.
Meet our Research and Development Team
Dr. Felicity Brown leads War Child's evaluation of the EASE intervention. Felicity holds a PhD and Masters degree in Clinical Psychology and is a Senior Researcher at War Child Holland. Her work focuses on the development, implementation and evaluation of psychological and educational interventions for communities affected by armed conflict and other adversities.