Ricardo Araya


Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience | Centre for Global Mental Health, King’s College London, UK.

My field of expertise is in the development and implementation of simple and affordable interventions to treat mental disorders, particularly in resource-poor settings. Among these initiatives, I developed a model of care to treat common mental disorders, which has been used and adapted in many settings. Two of these initiatives are particularly worth noting as they led to implementation at a large scale. The first test of this model was undertaken in Chile. This successful randomized controlled trial paved the way to the introduction of the first National Depression Treatment Programme in Primary Care in Chile (Araya et al., 2003, Lancet; Araya et al., 2009, Lancet), which is the largest (proportional to the population) programme of this type in the world. More recently a successful trial of a primary care-based intervention to help people with common mental disorders in Zimbabwe (Chibanda et al., 2016, JAMA) has been scaled-up to all clinics in Harare. As far as I am aware of, these are two of the few, if not the only, examples of scaled-up programmes in mental health over the last 10 years in low-and-middle income countries. The model of care we developed has been adapted and replicated in several other countries. I have and continue to work in many other countries including Brazil, India, Nigeria, Peru, Lebanon, Guatemala, Colombia, Uganda, Tanzania, and others. Several of my projects involve the use of technological platforms to support health workers delivering mental health interventions. For instance, in Brazil and Peru we are testing an integrated technological platform to manage chronic diseases and in Chile we are testing a game platform to strengthen basic psychological skills of young children. Besides my work as a researcher, I have a leading role in two major initiatives to increase mental research capacity in Africa and Latin America. *

← Back to contributors overview