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“Something in our hearts”: challenges to mental health among urban Mayan women in post‐war Guatemala

“Something in our hearts”: challenges to mental health among urban Mayan women in post‐war Guatemala Purpose – This paper aims to examine the long‐term mental health consequences of war from the perspectives of urban Mayan women in post‐war Guatemala. Design/methodology/approach – Ethnographic methodologies, namely participant observation and in‐depth qualitative interviews were carried out during 12 months of fieldwork in Guatemala City. Findings – The findings indicate that urban indigenous women confront a range of unresolved war‐related traumas and psychosocial distress that require specific attention by researchers, policy makers and service providers. It is argued that psychosocial interventions aimed at addressing the traumas of war must take into account present day conditions of post‐war violence, poverty, and social inequity that threaten the health and well‐being of indigenous peoples. Practical implications – Recommendations are provided for promoting the mental health of urban indigenous women affected by war. Originality/value – Research that has been conducted on the mental health effects of war has tended to focus on rural areas of the country. This article advances the research on post‐war Guatemala through a focus on urban Mayan indigenous women. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Ethnicity and Inequalities in Health and Social Care Emerald Publishing

“Something in our hearts”: challenges to mental health among urban Mayan women in post‐war Guatemala

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References (20)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1757-0980
DOI
10.1108/17570981111249266
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – This paper aims to examine the long‐term mental health consequences of war from the perspectives of urban Mayan women in post‐war Guatemala. Design/methodology/approach – Ethnographic methodologies, namely participant observation and in‐depth qualitative interviews were carried out during 12 months of fieldwork in Guatemala City. Findings – The findings indicate that urban indigenous women confront a range of unresolved war‐related traumas and psychosocial distress that require specific attention by researchers, policy makers and service providers. It is argued that psychosocial interventions aimed at addressing the traumas of war must take into account present day conditions of post‐war violence, poverty, and social inequity that threaten the health and well‐being of indigenous peoples. Practical implications – Recommendations are provided for promoting the mental health of urban indigenous women affected by war. Originality/value – Research that has been conducted on the mental health effects of war has tended to focus on rural areas of the country. This article advances the research on post‐war Guatemala through a focus on urban Mayan indigenous women.

Journal

Ethnicity and Inequalities in Health and Social CareEmerald Publishing

Published: Aug 15, 2011

Keywords: Central America; Mental health; Post‐war trauma; Indigenous peoples; Women; Inequality; Urban areas; Stress

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