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June 24, 2003

Group Psychotherapy Effective Treatment for Depression in Rural Uganda

Group psychotherapy can be an affordable treatment for depression among people living in rural Uganda, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. A study conducted by Paul Bolton, an associate with the School’s Center for International, Emergency, Disaster and Refugee Studies, Judith Bass, a graduate student with the School’s Department of Mental Health, and others found a significant improvement of depression symptoms and dysfunction among study participants who received psychotherapy, compared to those who did not. The study is believed to be the only scientific trial of a mental health intervention in resource-poor Africa. It appeared in the June 18 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)

According to the World Health Organization, depression is a leading cause of disability in both the developed and developing worlds. Antidepressant medications are effective for treating depression in developed nations, but they are too expensive and impractical for use in resource-poor Uganda.

“Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Depression in Rural Uganda” was written by Paul Bolton, MBBS; Judith Bass, MPH, Richard Neugebauer, PhD, MPH; Helen Verdeli, PhD; Kathleen F. Clougherty, MSW; Priya Wickramartne, PhD; Liesbeth Speelman, MA; Lincoln Ndogoni, MA; Myrna Weissman, PhD.

Listen to VOA news report

Public Affairs Media Contacts for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Tim Parsons or Kenna Brigham at 410-955-6878 or