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Transforming the understanding
and treatment of mental illnesses.

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Asia Pacific Research for Mental Health Services (ASPIRE-MHS)

Asia Pacific Research for Mental Health Services (ASPIRE-MHS)


Contact Principal Investigator: Judy Bass, Ph.D.

Hub Activity Sites

Papua New Guinea
United States

Project Overview

Asia Pacific Research for Mental Health Services  (ASPIRE-MHS) is a network of researchers, service providers, and policy makers in Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, Vietnam, Australia, and the United States. Working together, their goals are 1) to expand regional research capacity in implementation science, and 2) to evaluate the strategies and costs associated with bringing to scale a transdiagnostic psychotherapy program for common mental disorders.  The scale-up implementation study is being conducted in Myanmar. Capacity-building activities are occurring in Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam.

Implementation Research Study

The implementation research study is designed to identify effective organizational strategies for integrating an evidence-based mental health intervention into care across different types of provider agencies in Myanmar. The intervention is the Common Elements Treatment Approach (CETA), which is a transdiagnostic intervention that can be used by non-mental health professionals to treat individuals with depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress or any combination of these disorders. Multiple trials, including among Myanmar adults, have established the effectiveness of CETA for use in low-resource settings that rely on non-mental health specialist providers working within a supervised system. CETA uses principles of cognitive-behavior therapy, including engagement, psychoeducation, anxiety management, behavioral activation, cognitive restructuring, imaginal/gradual exposure, in vivo exposure, suicide/homicide assessment and planning, and cognitive-behavioral therapy for substance abuse. 

Research Capacity Building

The capacity-building activities are designed to strengthen the capacity of researchers in Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam to conduct mental health implementation research of relevance to policymakers and service consumers. An additional set of activities are aimed at building the capacity of policymakers in the region to understand and apply research findings in devising mental health policies and programs. Trainees participate in online seminars, mentoring, and pilot research to identify the needs of their target population and to develop and test implementation tools for further implementation research. In this way, ASPIRE-MHS is establishing a network of trained implementation science researchers who can work together with decision makers to design and carry out mental health research in the Asia-Pacific region.

Project website: Coming soon