Elizabeth comments on Mental Health Shallow Review - Effective Altruism Forum

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Comment author: Elizabeth 21 November 2017 10:32:06PM 2 points [-]

According to the person I talked to, StrongMind's chose their intervention because it was the only one that had experimental backing equivalent to what J-PAL does.

Unorganized thoughts on CBT for the bottom billion: *Poor Americans complain that it implicitly assumes the problem is in your head and is unhelpful if there's an actual problem in your life. I'd guess this would be worse for the bottom billion. *I'd expect significant changes to have to be made to adjust to local cultures. *The maximum cost would be in the ballpark of StrongMinds. The minimum cost would be much lower, I expect CBT to be more amenable to scaling via phones. *I am pretty skeptical of automated CBT. I think it follows the letter of CBT but is missing some implicit step that is actually what is helpful. This is mostly an intuition. *OTOH, it could have a very low success rate and still be very helpful if enough people tried it and the cost of trying was low. *CBT has been getting less effective as time goes on, potentially because the best insights have made their way into popular culture. I wouldn't expect that to be true for the bottom billion, which would increase its effectiveness.

So I think my ultimate answer is "CBT is a good jumping off point to look for something that would indeed be very cost-effective in the third world."