JamesSnowden comments on Oxford Prioritisation Project: Version 0 - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: MichaelPlant 11 March 2017 01:38:21PM 2 points [-]

Lovisa, have you looked into Basic Needs? http://www.basicneeds.org/

When I spoke to Eric Gastfriend about the Harvard EA report a while ago I asked why Strong Minds and Basic Needs weren't on the list. As far as I recall they just hadn't looked at them, rather than that they'd looked at them and then decided they were bad options.

I'd also be really curious to have someone do a cost-effectiveness comparison for Action for Happiness. http://www.actionforhappiness.org/ The thought is that it might be more effective, if happiness is your goal, to fund broad but shallow happiness education programmes for the general public, rather than funding deep mental health interventions for a few people.

I have no idea how the numbers would come out and would probably be biased (disclaimer: I know some of the people at both orgs and might do some work for Action for Happiness at some point). Hence it would be great to get some fresh eyes on the topic.

Comment author: JamesSnowden 11 March 2017 02:56:24PM 4 points [-]

I would deprioritise looking at BasicNeeds (in favour of StrongMinds). They use a franchised model and aren't able to provide financials for all their franchisees. This makes it very difficult to estimate cost-effectiveness for the organisation as a whole.

The GWWC research page is out of date (it was written before StrongMinds' internal RCT was released) and I would now recommend StrongMinds above BasicNeeds on the basis of greater levels of transparency, and focus on cost-effectiveness.

Comment author: MichaelPlant 13 March 2017 09:57:34PM 0 points [-]

Very interesting you say this. I recently suggested to Basic Needs' CEO that he get in contact with GW and hopefully this will lead to BN focusing more on cost-effectiveness and transparency.

Did you and I not discuss the Strong Mind's RCT ages ago? I thought we agreed it was too good to be true and we really wanted to see something independent, but maybe I misremember/was talking to someone else. If it's the case the best evidence for mental health in the developing world is an internal RCT that shows 1. how far behind mental health is and 2. the urgent need for a better evidence base.