Psychiatr Serv. 2023 Jan 10:appips202100691. doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.202100691. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: Task-shared delivery of mental health care, which includes training people who are not mental health specialists to deliver components of care, has been identified as a core strategy for increasing access to mental health care globally. However, after standard training, nonspecialists attain variable and sometimes poor competence in task-shared mental health care. This study examined whether pretraining interpersonal skills (nonverbal communication, verbal communication, rapport building, and empathy-warmth) are related to posttraining competence in task-shared mental health care among nonspecialists in Nepal.
METHODS: Nonspecialists (e.g., auxiliary health workers and health assistants) (N=185) were assessed at pretraining and posttraining (4 months after training and supervision) in a task-shared mental health care program in Nepal. This study employed both a classification algorithm and a logistic regression model to examine the relationship between pretraining interpersonal skills and posttraining competence.
RESULTS: The classification model predicted posttraining competence at above-chance levels on the basis of pretraining interpersonal skills. In particular, pretraining nonverbal communication skill distinguished participants whose posttraining competence was rated as acceptable from those whose rating was not acceptable. Nonverbal communication was also a significant predictor in the regression model. No other interpersonal skills were significantly related to posttraining competence outcomes in the regression model.
CONCLUSIONS: Some pretraining interpersonal skills of nonspecialists may predict overall competence outcomes in task-shared mental health care. Future studies confirming the relationship between pretraining interpersonal skills and posttraining competence in care delivery could improve staff selection and training strategies in task-shared mental health care programs.