Preparing for Parenthood
Syed Usman Hamdani from the Human Development Research Foundation in Pakistan will develop a program that teaches life skills such as self-awareness, communication, and parenting skills, to adolescent newlyweds in poor areas of Pakistan to help them cope with the challenges of marriage, pregnancy, and bringing up children. Pakistan has one of the highest adolescent birth rates in the world, with 10% of girls giving birth before the age of 18. Many of these girls go to live with their new in-laws, but they lack the skills needed to handle these major events, leaving them more susceptible to mental health issues such as depression. The Thinking Healthy Program is an existing WHO intervention involving community health workers providing coping strategies using cognitive behavioral techniques to depressed young mothers in rural Pakistan. They will develop and incorporate selected life skills into this program, in consultation with young women and other community members, and evaluate its feasibility and impact on mental health in a randomized controlled trial with 60 married women under 19 years old.