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Which Non-Pharmaceutical Primary Care Interventions Reduce Inequalities in Common Mental Health Disorders? A Protocol for a Systematic Review of Quantitative and Qualitative Studies

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Louise TannerORCiD, Dr Sarah SowdenORCiD, Madeleine StillORCiD, Dr Katie ThomsonORCiD, Professor Clare Bambra, Dr Josephine Wildman



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Common mental health disorders (CMDs) represent a major public health concern and are particularly prevalent in people experiencing disadvantage or marginalisation. Primary care is the first point of contact for people with CMDs. Pharmaceutical interventions, such as antidepressants, are commonly used in the treatment of CMDs; however, there is concern that these treatments are over-prescribed and ineffective for treating mental distress related to social conditions. Non-pharmaceutical primary care interventions, such as psychological therapies and “social prescribing”, provide alternatives for CMDs. Little is known, however, about which such interventions reduce social inequalities in CMD-related outcomes, and which may, unintentionally, increase them. The aim of this protocol (PROSPERO registration number CRD42021281166) is to describe how we will undertake a systematic review to assess the effects of non-pharmaceutical primary care interventions on CMD-related outcomes and social inequalities. A systematic review of quantitative, qualitative and mixed-methods primary studies will be undertaken and reported according to the PRISMA-Equity guidance. The following databases will be searched: Assia, CINAHL, Embase, Medline, PsycInfo and Scopus. Retrieved records will be screened according to pre-defined eligibility criteria and synthesised using a narrative approach, with meta-analysis if feasible. The findings of this review will guide efforts to commission more equitable mental health services

Publication metadata

Author(s): Tanner L, Sowden S, Still M, Thomson K, Bambra C, Wildman J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Year: 2021

Volume: 18

Issue: 24

Online publication date: 09/12/2021

Acceptance date: 25/11/2021

Date deposited: 09/12/2021

ISSN (electronic): 1660-4601

Publisher: MDPI


DOI: 10.3390/ijerph182412978


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