Development and Testing of a Community-Based Peer-Support Intervention to Mitigate Social Isolation and Stigma of Adolescent Motherhood in Harare, Zimbabwe
Chiwoneso Tinago of West Chester University of Pennsylvania in the U.S. will partner with adolescent mothers and local health workers in Zimbabwe to create peer-support groups incorporating cellphone-based technology such as the WhatsApp messenger application to provide coping and parenting skills to improve the mental health of young mothers. Young mothers less than 18 years old in Zimbabwe are often socially isolated due to forced marriages and exclusion from school, and therefore have no help when bringing up their children. This leaves them vulnerable to physical, emotional, and mental health problems, which also harms their children. They will hold one-hour focus groups with around 100 adolescent mothers and other community members including health workers and teachers, to identify the important topics and the best set-up for the support group meetings. They will then train community health workers and educators to run the peer-support groups, and evaluate its effect on depression and anxiety.