Author(s): Nancy CLARK
A postcolonial and feminist standpoint was used to bring Karen women’s voice to the knowledge production process. Data were collected through ethnographic field observation, in-depth semi-structured individual and focus group interviews with Karen women as well as healthcare and social service providers.
Three interrelated themes emerged from the data: Karen women’s construction of mental health as “stress and worry”; gender, language and health literacy intersected, shaping Karen women’s access to health care and social resources; flexible partnerships between settlement agencies, primary care and public health promoted community capacity but were challenged by neoliberalism.
Public health policy requires a contextualized understanding of refugee women’s mental health. Health promotion in resettlement must include culturally safe provision of health care to mitigate sources of psychological distress during resettlement.
This research brings a postcolonial and feminist analysis to community capacity as a public health strategy.
Keywords: Community capacity, Mental health, Gender, Intersectionality, Structural violence, Cultural safety, Karen women, Postcolonial feminist
Tags: Myanmar, Canada, Refugees, Women, Psychological distress, Resettlement, Community, Gender, Access to mental health care