Global Mental Health Gender Data Gap

@KarenBett Thanks for mentioning this. GBV seems to intersect with nearly every prize direction we are thinking through. It would be interesting have a separate prize that focuses on this, however, I think it could (or perhaps should) also be included or a part of any direction we go in some form. Adding the COVID lens to it heightens the importance of this domain.

Hi all, and @Shashi, thanks for your email! I completely agree with @KarenBett : the intersections between GBV and the gendered side of mental health are plentiful, and there are heavy implications in terms of data collection and analysis. To begin with, research shows that many trauma-related mental health issues (see various symptoms related to complex PTSD) manifest themselves with greater clarity when GBV survivors start processing their own trauma, i.e. when they begin to recognise what they experienced as violence. At the same time, GBV survivors (like other populations with a history of trauma) may feel triggered when involved in data collection efforts that bring them to re-visit their experience without being able to access any forms of therapeutic/social support. Feminist research methodology offers helpful guidelines on this.

Generally speaking, I think getting national/local GBV experts and practitioners involved in the most practical aspects of research design can substantially help mitigate risks of re-traumatisation. That applies to both qualitative research (where there is the chance to create a supportive space for research participants) and quant studies. In the case of questionnaires for big data research (which I agree are of great importance here), the best option is generally to design large, broad and accessible questionnaires. There, potentially ‘triggering’ questions can be not only carefully phrased, but also combined with ‘neutral’ questions on related areas of life, so that the research participant’s overall experience is less traumatic, and the quality and richness of the data may improve. I hope this helps!

Thanks @DrLiliaGiugni for sharing your thoughts.

@VictorOrozco1, @staceyo, @Rabin and @shruti - Would love to hear your perspective on Karen and Dr. Lilia’s comment based on your experience with GBV. Thanks.

i do agree with @DrLiliaGiugni. Using gbv expert & organizations that work with survivors into the process will allow greater insights into the data collection method. Also assuring survivors that they can submit their data anonymously helps and being transparent about how and where the data will be used. Extremely long survey are challenging to collect data unless you do that through smaller focus groups.

Currently, we three ( Dr. Padmaja from the Centre for Health Psychology , Dr. Anupama( Medical Doctor from Health Centre and Myself) are involved in a Project on Women Health and Aging: A framework for action and Policy formulations. We had stated collecting our data from January in the four states of India, Uttar Pradesh and Uttrakhand in the North and Andhra Pradesh and Telanagana in the South. Unfortunately, the data collection work had to stop due to the pandemic. We were collecting data on two situations, women living in Institutions like Old age Homes and Women living in the families. We found that the problem becomes more compounded if the woman is living alone with out a family. Functional independence is an important indicator of health and quality of life in old age, since it allows the elderly to perform, independently and autonomously, the activities related to self-care and to a participative life in the community.

We felt that the older women are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 given their limited information sources, weaker immune systems, and the higher COVID-19 mortality rate found in the older population.

Hence, my colleagues statred a help line to assist these women and they have been talking to a large number of women on phone. Some interesting insights have emerged from these discussions. When livelihood is a burden for themselves, many economically under privileged families find the older people at home an added burden. Older people being more risk prone and having to give greater protection to them intensifies the worries of several families irrespective of economic status. On the otherhand, being identified as more vulnerable to COVID-19, and to be told that they are very vulnerable, can be extremely frightening for the elderly as well. The psychological impact for older population thus includes anxiety and feeling stressed or angry. During these phone conversations some of the aspects that came to lime light were related to mental health.

We will analyse this data systematically, later on but during the phone conversations some of the psycho-social aspects in family and relationships are worth exploring in the background of the suffering of elderly. Many stated that some aspects of family life and relationships affect elderly health. One sided or mutual communication with family members, sense of isolation, availability of food, medicines and facilities were other issues. Interpersonal conflicts and arguments at home during current times as compared to earlier were regular stream of life and the elderly went through verbal & non verbal communication of ridicule, humiliation . More than that many of these women just wanted to speak for hours and felt very comforted by the fact that some one is listning to them.

Thanks @shruti for sharing your perspective. We have noted the details.

@panderekha - Thanks for sharing your project details. Great work. Do you know which data sources can be used to better understand the mental health of a population? You could share this details here: EHR & Social Media Data for Insights in Mental Health — XPRIZE Community