Community perceptions of mental distress in a post-conflict setting: A qualitative study in Burundi

Itziar Familiar, Sonali Sharma, Herman Ndayisaba, Norbert Munyentwari, Seleus Sibomana, Judith Bass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

There is scant documentation of the mental health characteristics of low-income communities recovering from armed conflict. To prepare for quantitative health surveys and health service planning in Burundi, we implemented a qualitative study to explore concepts related to mental distress and coping among adults. Mental distress was defined as problems related to feelings, thinking, behaviour and physical stress. Using free listing and key informant interviews with a range of community members, we triangulated data to identify salient issues. Thirty-eight free list respondents and 23 key informants were interviewed in 5 rural communities in Burundi using 2 interview guides from the WHO Toolkit for Mental Health Assessment in Humanitarian Settings. Based on these interviews, we identified four locally defined idioms/terms relating to mental distress: ihahamuka (anxiety spectrum illnesses), ukutiyemera (a mix of depression and anxiety-like syndrome), akabonge (depression/grief-like syndrome) and kwamana ubwoba burengeje (anxiety-like syndrome). Mental distress terms were perceived as important problems impacting community development. Affected individuals sought help from several sources within the community, including community leaders and traditional healers. We discuss how local expressions of distress can be used to tailor health research and service integration from the bottom up.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)943-957
Number of pages15
JournalGlobal Public Health
Volume8
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2013

Fingerprint

Burundi
Anxiety
Interviews
Mental Health
Depression
Social Planning
Health Planning
Grief
Health Services Research
Rural Population
Health Surveys
Documentation
Health Services
Emotions
Conflict (Psychology)

Keywords

  • developing country
  • distress
  • mental health
  • post-conflict
  • qualitative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Community perceptions of mental distress in a post-conflict setting : A qualitative study in Burundi. / Familiar, Itziar; Sharma, Sonali; Ndayisaba, Herman; Munyentwari, Norbert; Sibomana, Seleus; Bass, Judith.

In: Global Public Health, Vol. 8, No. 8, 08.2013, p. 943-957.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Familiar, Itziar ; Sharma, Sonali ; Ndayisaba, Herman ; Munyentwari, Norbert ; Sibomana, Seleus ; Bass, Judith. / Community perceptions of mental distress in a post-conflict setting : A qualitative study in Burundi. In: Global Public Health. 2013 ; Vol. 8, No. 8. pp. 943-957.
@article{f9f5ffaf751243679dd573e1669c69e2,
title = "Community perceptions of mental distress in a post-conflict setting: A qualitative study in Burundi",
abstract = "There is scant documentation of the mental health characteristics of low-income communities recovering from armed conflict. To prepare for quantitative health surveys and health service planning in Burundi, we implemented a qualitative study to explore concepts related to mental distress and coping among adults. Mental distress was defined as problems related to feelings, thinking, behaviour and physical stress. Using free listing and key informant interviews with a range of community members, we triangulated data to identify salient issues. Thirty-eight free list respondents and 23 key informants were interviewed in 5 rural communities in Burundi using 2 interview guides from the WHO Toolkit for Mental Health Assessment in Humanitarian Settings. Based on these interviews, we identified four locally defined idioms/terms relating to mental distress: ihahamuka (anxiety spectrum illnesses), ukutiyemera (a mix of depression and anxiety-like syndrome), akabonge (depression/grief-like syndrome) and kwamana ubwoba burengeje (anxiety-like syndrome). Mental distress terms were perceived as important problems impacting community development. Affected individuals sought help from several sources within the community, including community leaders and traditional healers. We discuss how local expressions of distress can be used to tailor health research and service integration from the bottom up.",
keywords = "developing country, distress, mental health, post-conflict, qualitative",
author = "Itziar Familiar and Sonali Sharma and Herman Ndayisaba and Norbert Munyentwari and Seleus Sibomana and Judith Bass",
year = "2013",
month = "8",
doi = "10.1080/17441692.2013.819587",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "8",
pages = "943--957",
journal = "Global Public Health",
issn = "1744-1692",
publisher = "Routledge",
number = "8",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Community perceptions of mental distress in a post-conflict setting

T2 - A qualitative study in Burundi

AU - Familiar, Itziar

AU - Sharma, Sonali

AU - Ndayisaba, Herman

AU - Munyentwari, Norbert

AU - Sibomana, Seleus

AU - Bass, Judith

PY - 2013/8

Y1 - 2013/8

N2 - There is scant documentation of the mental health characteristics of low-income communities recovering from armed conflict. To prepare for quantitative health surveys and health service planning in Burundi, we implemented a qualitative study to explore concepts related to mental distress and coping among adults. Mental distress was defined as problems related to feelings, thinking, behaviour and physical stress. Using free listing and key informant interviews with a range of community members, we triangulated data to identify salient issues. Thirty-eight free list respondents and 23 key informants were interviewed in 5 rural communities in Burundi using 2 interview guides from the WHO Toolkit for Mental Health Assessment in Humanitarian Settings. Based on these interviews, we identified four locally defined idioms/terms relating to mental distress: ihahamuka (anxiety spectrum illnesses), ukutiyemera (a mix of depression and anxiety-like syndrome), akabonge (depression/grief-like syndrome) and kwamana ubwoba burengeje (anxiety-like syndrome). Mental distress terms were perceived as important problems impacting community development. Affected individuals sought help from several sources within the community, including community leaders and traditional healers. We discuss how local expressions of distress can be used to tailor health research and service integration from the bottom up.

AB - There is scant documentation of the mental health characteristics of low-income communities recovering from armed conflict. To prepare for quantitative health surveys and health service planning in Burundi, we implemented a qualitative study to explore concepts related to mental distress and coping among adults. Mental distress was defined as problems related to feelings, thinking, behaviour and physical stress. Using free listing and key informant interviews with a range of community members, we triangulated data to identify salient issues. Thirty-eight free list respondents and 23 key informants were interviewed in 5 rural communities in Burundi using 2 interview guides from the WHO Toolkit for Mental Health Assessment in Humanitarian Settings. Based on these interviews, we identified four locally defined idioms/terms relating to mental distress: ihahamuka (anxiety spectrum illnesses), ukutiyemera (a mix of depression and anxiety-like syndrome), akabonge (depression/grief-like syndrome) and kwamana ubwoba burengeje (anxiety-like syndrome). Mental distress terms were perceived as important problems impacting community development. Affected individuals sought help from several sources within the community, including community leaders and traditional healers. We discuss how local expressions of distress can be used to tailor health research and service integration from the bottom up.

KW - developing country

KW - distress

KW - mental health

KW - post-conflict

KW - qualitative

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84885176265&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84885176265&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/17441692.2013.819587

DO - 10.1080/17441692.2013.819587

M3 - Article

C2 - 23941217

AN - SCOPUS:84885176265

VL - 8

SP - 943

EP - 957

JO - Global Public Health

JF - Global Public Health

SN - 1744-1692

IS - 8

ER -