Responses to mental health problems can include much more than treatment by a psychiatrist or psychologist. Indeed, in low- and middle-income countries in particular, the availability of these kinds of treatments is extremely restricted. Most countries only have one psychiatrist for every 1 to 4 million people.
In addition, formal treatment provided in institutions might not be an appropriate response for many young people. Therefore, the focus has been on using volunteer resources and existing welfare programmes and services, to incorporate mental health support.
Supporting a young person’s mental strengths and resilience might enable them to do well in life despite hardship.
For example, mental health interventions might enable them to cope with extreme daily stressors linked to living in poverty, as well as helping them to prioritise future economic and health gains over more immediate benefits.
Overall, little is known about the final impact of mental health interventions on education and employment, nor about the mechanisms by which they can alter life trajectories and increase academic and employment prospects.