Table of Contents
International Journal of Family Medicine
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 621426, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/621426
Research Article

Community-Based Mental Health Intervention for Underprivileged Women in Rural India: An Experiential Report

Sampark, No. 80 Ground Floor, 2nd Main Road, 1st Block, Koramangala, Bangalore 560 034, Karnataka, India

Received 30 December 2010; Revised 1 June 2011; Accepted 20 June 2011

Academic Editor: D. E. Pathman

Copyright © 2011 Kiran Rao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Objective. To share experiences from a project that integrates a mental health intervention within a developmental framework of microcredit activity for economically underprivileged women in rural India. Method. The mental health intervention had two components: group counseling and stress management. The former comprised of ventilation and reassurance and the latter strengthening of coping skills and a relaxation technique. Focus group discussions were used to understand women's perception of how microcredit economic activity and the mental health intervention had affected their lives. Results. Women in the mental health intervention group reported reduction in psychological distress and bodily aches and pains. Majority (86%) reported that the quality of their sleep had improved with regular practice of relaxation and that sharing their problems in the group had helped them to unburden. The social support extended by the members to each other, made them feel that they were not alone and could face any life situation. Conclusion. The study provided qualitative evidence that adding the mental health intervention to the ongoing economic activity had made a positive difference in the lives of the women. Addressing mental health concerns along with livelihood initiatives can help to enhance both economic and social capital in rural poor women.