Gendering psychosocial care: risks and opportunities for global mental health

Liana E Chase, Dristy Gurung, Parbati Shrestha, Sunita Rumba

The Lancet Psychiatry

Published on: 14 December 2020

Abstract: Recent conversations in The Lancet Psychiatry have highlighted the ways global mental health institutions reflect and reproduce wider social inequalities. Gendered practices of employment and remuneration are an understudied dimension of this problem. The past decade has seen a proliferation of psychosocial interventions delivered by lay community workers, a predominantly female workforce. Under the right conditions, task shifting in this way can address geographical and socioeconomic inequities in access to care and support women’s empowerment. Yet, such interventions also carry the risk of further entrenching gender inequalities when female community workers are viewed instrumentally as a source of more affordable clinical labour. As a group of women scholars and clinicians involved with psychosocial interventions in Nepal, we write to sound a note of caution amid the burgeoning enthusiasm for task shifting in global mental health.
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