Project Ankur

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Teachers College, Columbia University
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Global Mental Health Lab

Project Ankur

Funded by Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict and Complexity, Earth Institute and Dean's Grants, Teachers College, Columbia University

 In collaboration with MINDS Foundation, this formative pilot study aims to develop the baseline for building future stepped-care, effective and culturally relevant pathways for integrating mental health as a vital and accessible component to healthcare for sex workers in rural Gujarat State, India. This cross-sectional pilot study will investigate the mental health needs, the current health care delivery routes and the barriers to mental health care for females engaged in home-based sex work in rural communities of Gujarat. This protocol specifically aims to gather information on the knowledge, attitudes, needs and perspectives of mental health and illness among female sex workers to inform the feasibility of creating community-based mental health supports for the women. The study will conduct focus group and in-depth interviews with female sex workers and health workers to assess 1) Psychosocial stressors; 2) Mental health needs and perceptions; 3) Subjective assessment of the impact of mental health problems; 4) Issues/barriers surrounding access to care; 5) Attitudes toward psychotherapy as a treatment for mental health disorders; 6) Usage of existing medical or wellness resources as well as assess the impact of psychiatric healthcare cost offset on the current medical costs; 7) Experiences with HIV/AIDS; 8) Experiences with indigenous and western medical health intervention options.