Indigenous Communities Mobilize for Adolescent Girls' Healthy Minds
Anne Marie Chomat of McGill University in Canada will design an intervention to overcome the mental health problems faced by young mothers in Guatemala by engaging them, along with their partners and fathers, elders, and adolescents in their communities, in order to address the complex factors affecting maternal health. Women in Maya indigenous areas of Guatemala, which has recently faced a civil war, experience particularly high rates of poverty, gender inequality, adolescent births, and mental health disorders. This in turn harms their children, with over 50% suffering from severe developmental delays. They recognize that community members are best placed to find solutions to their own problems and can better promote community-level change. So, they will engage community members from multiple generations and positions, including traditional healers and spiritual leaders, to co-develop an intervention. Their project will take place in four communities in two rural regions of Guatemala, and the community groups will work together to define the problems and contribute to designing and implementing the intervention.