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BACKGROUND: Severe mental illness (SMI) imposes a substantial worldwide burden of disability, highlighting the need for comprehensive and adaptable mental health services. This study aims to assess the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of community-based mental health services (CBMHS) in reducing relapse and rehospitalization rates among individuals with SMI in Iran. METHOD: A systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted. Medline, EMBASE, ISI, SCOPUS, and ProQuest were searched until December 2022. We focused on randomized controlled trials, quasi-experimental studies, or economic studies related to individuals with SMI. Out of 127 articles, 17 were selected for a full-text review. The primary outcomes were the severity of psychopathology, rehospitalization rates, and the mental health of caregivers. We also examined community-based interventions and their impact on various outcomes. Data extraction and risk of bias assessment were performed, and critical appraisal was conducted using JBI checklists. Meta-analysis was carried out using STATA software. (PROSPERO registration. CRD42022332660). RESULT: Rehospitalization rates among patients who received CBMHS were significantly lower, with an odds ratio of 2.14 (95% CI: 1.44 to 3.19), indicating a 2.14 times lower likelihood than those who received treatment as usual. A reduction in psychopathology accompanied this, SMD: -0.31, 95% CI: -0.49 to -0.13, I2 = 40.23%). Moreover, there was a notable improvement in social skills (SMD: -0.7, 95% CI: -0.98 to -0.44, I2 = 0.00%). The burden on caregivers also decreased (SMD: -0.55, 95% CI: -0.99 to -0.1, I2 = 63.2). The Incremental Cost-Effectiveness Ratio (ICER) for QUALY was acceptable, albeit with a wide range of 613 to 8400 Dollars. CONCLUSION: CBMHS has demonstrated effectiveness and efficiency in Iran as a developing country. Additionally, it shows promise in mitigating the shortage of acute psychiatry beds. Using multiple data collection tools poses a limitation regarding data consolidation and conducting a meta-analysis.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Psychiatry

Publication Date





Community-based mental health services, Cost-effectiveness, Effectiveness, Severe mental illness, Humans, Community Health Services, Community Mental Health Services, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Iran, Mental Disorders