Doctoral Project: Transcultural psychiatry

Reincorporating men in safe birth in cultural safety


Transcultural psychiatry: Reincorporating men in safe birth in cultural safety

Indigenous communities in Guatemala face high rates of common mental disorders and limited access to mental health services. Social and structural inequities contribute to psychosocial distress in these communities, and there is a recognized need for participatory, community-based approaches to address them. We piloted one such approach with indigenous communities in Guatemala. Facilitators convened groups of men and women (youth, adults, elders), health workers and traditional healers to map local knowledge on determinants of wellbeing, to participate in monthly deliberative dialogue sessions to prioritize issues and strategies to tackle them, and to implement their chosen strategies. Inspired by a realist approach to evaluation, this project used mixed methods to describe the impact of the participatory intervention on psychosocial wellbeing in indigenous communities in Guatemala, as well as the mechanisms underpinning impact. Methods included a pre-post participant survey, individual interviews with local coordinators and participants, observation of collective evaluation workshops, and analysis of coordinators’ monitoring logs. Preliminary findings suggest a positive impact on participants’ psychosocial wellbeing via reduced social isolation, empowerment of marginalized community members to express themselves, increased awareness of conditions impacting wellbeing, and an increased sense of community solidarity.

Status: Ongoing

Degree: PhD McGill

Student: Katherine Pizarro