An exploration of mental health and resilience narratives of migrant


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An exploration of mental health and resilience narratives of migrant workers in India using community theatre methodology Lead Research Organisation: De Montfort University Department Name: School of Nursing and Midwifery Go back Overview Organisations People

Abstract Funding details This highly innovative, interdisciplinary and collaborative global public health partnership aims to explore the mental health challenges and opportunities for resilience for internal migrants in Pune, India using theatre storytelling practices. Our focus is on co-creation of mental health and resilience knowledge for raising mental health awareness and support through community theatre engagement with migrant slum dwellers. This project aims to develop partnerships between UK and India academic researchers, community theatre groups, migrant communities, government agencies and public health NGOs. Our vision is to work towards the UN sustainable development agenda: Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development goals 3, 5, and 10 (Good health and wellbeing, Gender equality, and Reduced Inequalities). There are an estimated 450 million people worldwide with mental disorders and about 75% of them live in developing countries, where insecurity, illiteracy, poverty, and violence increase the prevalence of mental illness. There is the widespread ignorance within society about mental health, which often results in human rights abuses and stigma against people with mental illness. Physical health problems and addictions are also associated with mental health problems. Internal migration is a matter of great importance in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC). Shrinking agriculture in rural areas and industrialisation and increasing urbanisation leads to ever increasing numbers of internal migrants seeking livelihoods in the cities. Our collaborative research will be in Pune in the state of Maharashtra, India. The rationale for this location is due to our academic and NGO contacts and partnerships within this area. In Pune the urban poor make up fifty per cent of the population with about 564 slums as per the Indian census data in 2011. Mental health interventions are still typically dominated by deficit-based models of theory and practice. Traditionally, many of the human service agencies have focused on trying to better understand the biological/psychological or environmental risk factors that increase the likelihood of the development or maintenance of at risk behaviour and the potential implications for prevention. Interventions that are based on the deficit, problems, or pathologies of individuals tend to direct the attention of professionals to only one view of the person. Supporting resilience requires a shift away from deficit-based models of mental health theory and practice. Our aim is to examine the opportunities presented by theatre practice for exploring and developing resilience at both personal and community level for migrant communities who are marginalised and struggling to meet their basic needs with very little public health support for health and wellbeing. Mental health narratives of internal migrants in India have hitherto tended to focus on the prevalence of psychological distress, anxiety and depression; but we have scant evidence about the resilience of migrant slum dwellers. The psychological distress and experiences as a result of migration can indeed be a risk factor for higher prevalence of mental disorders, but the lack of knowledge on how migrants mediate risk in the midst of adversities and construct resilience for positive living is an untold story. A key strength of theatre is its capacity to develop narratives capturing, but also powerfully communicating, the whole spectrum of health experiences - exploring not only the crises in people's lives but also asking and answering 'what is the beautiful?' in people's lives (beauty can be a key source of meaning and resilience).With the growing burden of mental ill health among migrant communities this international research partnership adds a new dimension to the co-creation of knowledge and understanding of resilience of internal migrant slum dwellers for developing appropriate public health support and intervention models.

Planned Impact This project team consists of key individuals with a wealth of experience in interdisciplinary, funded research, publications and networking relevant to humanities, social sciences and healthcare. All the members have delivered a variety of high quality publications relevant to health humanities, bringing together substantial experience of health care policy, education and practice and humanities-based scholarship across narrative research, mental health promotion, community engagement, visual arts, theatre and performance. The team includes members with substantial brokering and knowledge transfer skills. The project will be strengthened by on-going support from the Health Policy Research Unit and Mary Seacole Research Centre, especially in terms of assisting exploitation activities. This partnership and our scoping study will add a new international dimension to existing AHRC-funded health humanities projects. Its arts and humanities led programme of work incorporates a social sciences layer that seeks to advance transformative impacts in policy, provision and practice by grounding the outputs in first hand experiences of migration. It will link researchers in the arts and humanities, social and health sciences across two countries and third and statutory sector organisations supporting people who have undertaken migration, in order to generate new forms of social and cultural connectedness that can facilitate resilience. This project has a potentially wide impact on public engagement and academic research. Policy-makers: The project is designed to bring together communities of arts and humanities and social and health sciences scholars, volunteers and stakeholders from migrant communities, and health, social care and education personnel in Britain and India, to respond to contemporary anxieties about the psychological costs of migration health. As such, it is anticipated that research findings generated by the project will stimulate and inform public health debate, particularly as it relates to the development of policies that advance: a. less-centralised resources for responding to the mental health and well-being agenda; b. more co-operative, open and permeable interfaces between diverse social actors and communities of practice in mental health. Health, social care and education providers in a variety of nations: The project will be of interest to health, social care, education, and community arts organizations involved in mental health and resilience promotion work and the facilitation of more connected and self-caring communities. The interdisciplinary approach and methodology aligns it with the emerging field of health humanities, in this case through a combination of performing arts, narrative and life story work as well as sociology, psychology, psychiatry, social care, nursing, and public health. It will afford knowledge dissemination benefits with regard to the ways in which these fields animate one another. It is hoped that the research findings may ultimately inform organisational culture and practices within India and UK. Members of the public: We envisage potential social benefits for people who have undergone migration and the general public more broadly, these emanating primarily from the impact of the research on public awareness and understanding of issues pertaining to the experiences of social dislocation and displacement and creative activity in building mental health resilience. It is envisaged that the project will generate public contribution to debate about ways to tackle societal challenges in the area of mental health and migration. We aim to inform attitudes to and/or beliefs about the feasibility of creative practice as a way of facilitating mutual support, being a possible solution to the limitations of biomedical and psychiatric approaches to date to improve the wellbeing, resilience and health of developing

Funded Value: £177,344

Funded Period: Nov 17 - Oct 19

Funder: AHRC

Project Status: Active

Project Category: Research Grant

Project Reference: AH/R006148/1

Principal Investigator: Raghu Raghavan

Research Subject: Drama & theatre studies Medical & health interface Psychology Sociology

Research Topic: Drama & Theatre - Other Globalism and Development Mental Health Social Psychology Theatre & Society If populated the following is a graphic depicting where in the UK the given postcode is located.

Organisations De Montfort University, United Kingdom (Lead Research Organisation) Medical Research Council (Co-funder)

People Raghu Raghavan (Principal Investigator) Brian Brown (Co-Investigator) Nilesh Gawde (Co-Investigator) Mark Crossley (Co-Investigator) Santosh Chaturvedi (Co-Investigator) Sivakami Muthusamy (Co-Investigator) Jonathan Coope (Researcher)


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An exploration of mental health and resilience narratives of migrant

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