Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

Dusukasi-The Heart That Cries: An Idiom of Mental Distress Among Perinatal Women in Rural Mali

TitleDusukasi-The Heart That Cries: An Idiom of Mental Distress Among Perinatal Women in Rural Mali
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsLasater, ME, Beebe, M, Warren, NE, Souko, F, Keita, M, Murray, SM, Bass, JK, Surkan, PJ, Winch, PJ
JournalCult Med Psychiatry
Date PublishedDec
ISBN Number0165-005x
Accession Number29696491
KeywordsIdioms of distress, Mali, Mental Health, perinatal

Perinatal mental health problems such as depression and anxiety are prevalent in low and middle-income countries. In Mali, the lack of mental health care is compounded by few studies on mental health needs, including in the perinatal period. This paper examines the ways in which perinatal women experience and express mental distress in rural Mali. We describe a process, relying on several different qualitative research methods, to identify understandings of mental distress specific to the Malian context. Participants included perinatal women, maternal health providers, and community health workers in rural southwest Mali. Participants articulated several idioms of distress, including geleya (difficulties), tooro (pain, suffering), hamin (worries, concerns), and dusukasi (crying heart), that occur within a context of poverty, interpersonal conflict, and gender inequality. These idioms of distress were described as sharing many key features and operating on a continuum of severity that could progress over time, both within and across idioms. Our findings highlight the context dependent nature of experiences and expressions of distress among perinatal women in Mali.