Mobilizing lay health workers (LHWs) to deliver evidence-based treatments (EBTs) is a workforce strategy to address mental health disparities in underserved communities. LHWs can be leveraged to support access to EBTs in a variety of ways, from conducting outreach for EBTs delivered by professional providers to serving as the primary treatment providers. This critical review provides an overview of how LHW-supported or -delivered EBTs have been leveraged in low-, middle-, and high-income countries (HICs). We propose a conceptual model for LHWs to address drivers of service disparities, which relate to the overall supply of the EBTs provided and the demand for these treatments. The review provides illustrative case examples that demonstrate how LHWs have been leveraged globally and domestically to increase access to mental health services. It also discusses challenges and recommendations regarding implementing LHW-supported or -delivered EBTs.


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