Implementing a peer-to-peer, self-management intervention for young people with depression and anxiety in Denmark

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Abstract

Background: Depressive and anxiety disorders share major risk factors and can often be effectively prevented or treated with similar interventions. However, less than half of young people with mental health problems seek professional help and hence innovative approaches to support this group are needed. To this end Coping with Anxiety and Depression shows promise. The aim of this paper was to evaluate the implementation of Coping with Anxiety and Depression for young people aged 15–25 years showing symptoms of anxiety and/or depression in a Danish community setting. Methods: The programme was implemented in 39 Danish municipalities. To evaluate the implementation of the programme, we collected quantitative and qualitative data simultaneously and subsequently we triangulated it in the data analysis. The qualitative data collection comprised semi-structured interviews in seven case municipalities. In each municipality we conducted interviews with a local municipality coordinator of the program, a group interview with two voluntary instructors facilitating the program and a group interview with two to seven participants in the programme. In total, seven local coordinators, 14 voluntary instructors and 23 participants (8 men and 15 women) were interviewed. We also carried out a baseline and post-intervention survey. Interview data was coded via an inductive and deductive analysis approach. Survey data was analysed via descriptive statistics in the statistical software programme STATA 16. Results: The evaluation showed that the implementation of the programme is feasible, and that most participants (83%) were satisfied with the programme to a high/very high extent. In total, 84% of the participants strongly agreed/agreed that it was advantageous that instructors themselves had experience with anxiety and depression. Qualitative data showed that the participants were very positive about the group format. It also showed that recruitment and retention of participants and especially young instructors were challenging but doable. Thus our findings suggest that the programme can be implemented in a way that is perceived as useful and satisfying to young people. Conclusions: Coping with Anxiety and Depression constitutes a feasible peer-to-peer, group-based community programme that is well-received by its target group. Recruitment and retention of participants and instructors is challenging but doable.

Original languageEnglish
Article number70
JournalBMC Psychology
Volume10
Issue number1
ISSN2050-7283
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

Keywords

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Community-based intervention
  • Implementation evaluation
  • Peer-support
  • Self-management
  • Young people

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