Document Type



Institute for Human Development


Background: Given the high rates of common mental disorders and limited resources, task-shifting psychosocial interventions are needed to provide adequate care. One such intervention developed by the World Health Organization is Problem Management Plus (PM+).

Aims: This review maps the evidence regarding the extent of application and usefulness of the PM+ intervention, i.e. adaptability, feasibility, effectiveness and scalability, since it was introduced in 2016.

Method: We conducted a scoping review of seven literature databases and grey literature from January 2015 to February 2024, to identify peer-reviewed and grey literature on PM+ around the world.

Results: Out of 6739 potential records, 42 met the inclusion criteria. About 60% of the included studies were from low- and middle-income countries. Findings from pilot/feasibility trials demonstrated that PM+ is feasible, acceptable and safe. Results from definitive randomised controlled trials at short-term follow-up also suggested that PM+ is effective, with overall moderate-to-large effect sizes, in improving symptoms of common mental health problems. Although PM+ was more effective in reducing symptoms of common mental disorders, it was found to be costlier compared to usual care in the only study that evaluated its cost-effectiveness.

Conclusions: Our findings indicate that PM+, in its individual and group formats, can be adapted and effectively delivered by trained helpers to target a wide range of common mental health concerns. More effectiveness and implementation evidence is required to understand the long-term impact of PM+, its cost-effectiveness and scalability, and moderators of treatment outcomes such as gender and delivery formats.

Publication (Name of Journal)

BJPsych Open


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.