Yale University

An approach to mental health in low and middle income countries: a case example from urban India.

TitleAn approach to mental health in low and middle income countries: a case example from urban India.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsMaitra, Shubhada, Marie A. Brault, Stephen L. Schensul, Jean J. Schensul, Bonnie K. Nastasi, Ravi K. Verma, and Joseph A. Burleson
JournalInternational journal of mental health
Date Published2015
AbstractWomen in low and middle income countries (LMICs) facing poverty, challenging living conditions and gender inequality often express their emotional difficulties through physical health concerns and seek care at primary health facilities. However, primary care providers in LMICs only treat the physical health symptoms and lack appropriate services to address women's mental health problems. This paper, presents data from the counseling component of a multilevel, research and intervention project in a low income community in Mumbai, India whose objective was to improve sexual health and reduce HIV/STI risk among married women. Qualitative data from counselor notes shows that poor mental health, associated with negative and challenging life situations, is most often expressed by women as gynecological concerns through the culturally-based syndrome of tenshun. A path analysis was conducted on baseline quantitative data that confirmed the relationships between sources of tenshum, emotional status and symptoms of common mental disorders (CMDs). Based on these findings, the authors propose a need for culturally appropriate primary care services for LMICs that would integrate mental and physical health. This approach would reduce mental health morbidity among women through early intervention and prevention of the development of CMDs.
Alternate JournalInt J Ment Health

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