In LMICs, a focus on women is a strategic and necessary high priority. They are a vulnerable population due to the gender inequities in education, economic opportunities, and social discrimination. They represent a high-risk group for both poverty and depression. Furthermore, poverty alleviation programs such as microfinance which frequently target women have been found to have positive impacts on women’s socioeconomic status and social and emotional well-being. However, few microfinance programs have integrated evidence-based mental health interventions, or evaluated such integration in a controlled study.

To address the dual challenge of poverty and depression, RAND, Da Nang Psychiatric Hospital, and BasicNeeds Vietnam developed a program called Livelihood Integration for Effective Depression Management (LIFE-DM); an innovative intervention that integrates evidence-based depression treatment with microfinance services to address both depression and poverty simultaneously. The program expanded the MCCD model to include a community development approach, with the intervention focusing on both mood management and economic empowerment. Using the team-based model previously used in Vietnam, the program was delivered by both health providers from CHS and microfinance providers from the WU.

The LIFE-DM Transition to Scale examines:

Program implementation

The impact of the program on patient outcomes

The impact of the program on family outcomes