Implementation research for public sector mental health care scale-up (SMART-DAPPER): a sequential multiple, assignment randomized trial (SMART) of non-specialist-delivered psychotherapy and/or medication for major depressive disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder (DAPPER) integrated with outpatient care clinics at a county hospital in Kenya

Mental disorders are a leading cause of global disability, driven primarily by depression and anxiety. Most of the disease burden is in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs), where 75% of adults with mental disorders have no service access. Our research team has worked in western Kenya for nearly ten years. Primary care populations in Kenya have high prevalence of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). To address these treatment needs with a sustainable, scalable mental health care strategy, we are partnering with local and national mental health stakeholders in Kenya and Uganda to identify 1) evidence-based strategies for first-line and second-line treatment delivered by non-specialists integrated with primary care, 2) investigate presumed mediators of treatment outcome and 3) determine patient-level moderators of treatment effect to inform personalized, resource-efficient, non-specialist treatments and sequencing, with costing analyses. Our implementation approach is guided by the Exploration, Preparation, Implementation, Sustainment (EPIS) framework.