Ask-Boost-Connect-Discuss (ABCD)

Ask-Boost-Connect-Discuss (ABCD) is an adolescent co-developed package of care provided by young peer supporters living with HIV to reduce adolescent maternal depression. It is developed by PATA and the Universities of Cape Town and Oxford as well as adolescent mothers. ABCD for Adolescent Maternal Mental Health is a mobile-enhanced tool adapted from the World Health Organisation, Thinking Healthy Programme.

The mobile Training & mobile Supervision tool (ABCD) will capacitate 70 peer supporters in six Southern African countries to test a mobile app training tool to facilitate improved access to mental health support for adolescent mothers living with HIV. It is anticipated that the tool, after being tested, can be implemented and integrated across Peer Support programmes generally with a focus on improved access to mental health screening and care.

The tool help adolescent and young mothers living with HIV to access basic maternal depression care through: screening (ASK), evidence-based CBT-informed mental health support (BOOST), help with accessing services (CONNECT), and the provision of ongoing supervision and self-care (DISCUSS).


The mental health treatment gap – estimated 75% in sub-Saharan Africa – persists due to lack of knowledge and stigma, poor linkages to care, and limited specialist services, especially in contexts of prevalent HIV, poverty and maternal and child mortality.

This Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Exploration will be implemented over 18 months through a network of peer supporters mentored by PATA, in collaboration with an adolescent advisory group, tech developers and in partnership with the joint University of Cape Town-Oxford University team.

COVID-19 Messages of Support: