HCRI's fifth research seminar of the new term will be with recent UG graduates Isabelle Kidder, Julia Kiemle-Gabbey and Jennifer Small, who will present on their BSc dissertations.
Isabelle's dissertation: The Westernisation of Mental Health: An Analysis of the Cross-Cultural Application of PTSD in Sri Lanka.
Dissertation abstract: There is a growing body of literature surrounding the mental health of those displaced by disasters globally, the vast majority of which examines the growth of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) amongst displaced populations. PTSD is a debilitating mental disorder which is fundamentally linked to exposure to a traumatic event. It has become standard practice in the humanitarian sphere to apply the PTSD diagnosis across cultures in the aftermath of disasters. Despite widespread belief in its ability to be universally applied, each culture has its own specific mannerisms of exhibiting symptoms of distress and understanding trauma. As the PTSD diagnosis is born from a uniquely American socio-economic context, expressions of distress cannot be efficiently captured by using the Western PTSD diagnosis and its treatments.
Existing academic theories will be used throughout this dissertation to provide a unique analysis of the imposition of Western frameworks onto the people displaced by the tsunami in Sri Lanka in 2004. The population is not unfamiliar with trauma, having faced over twenty-five years of civil war and ethnic tension between the Sinhalese and Tamil populations on the island in addition to the tsunami. Through the application of their one-size-fits-all methods during the tsunami response, Western actors not only dismissed these local methods but also ignored the ethnocultural factors which influence representations of distress, such as religion and understandings of identity. Throughout this dissertation, I will argue that this ‘West knows best’ attitude from responders meant not only were both local voices and international guidelines ignored, but also perpetuated colonial representations of the Global South as second-rate compared to the West.
Julia's dissertation: The mental well-being of refugee youth during resettlement; through the lens of social identity theory and acculturation theory.
Dissertation abstract: Rising global political and environmental instability has caused the number of refugees to increase exponentially, creating a vulnerable population at greater risk of poor mental well being. Children and adolescents represent over half the current global refugee population; however, their mental well being needs are frequently ignored. The extant literature surrounding refugee youths’ mental well being largely reflects pre-migratory and migratory traumatic events and their resultant psychosocial impact. Yet increasingly, greater attention is given to the psychological importance of the resettlement environment. The stressful post-migration period can result in adverse mental well being outcomes for refugee youth. Discrimination, separation from primary caregivers, and adaptation to new cultures are major factors contributing to the challenging resettlement process. Social identity theory and acculturation theory provide a useful epistemological lens to examine the impact of such post-migratory factors on refugee youths’ mental well being. Through applying these theories to the literature, I have developed an innovative conceptual framework, resulting in important and novel findings. Experiences of discrimination during resettlement are shown to impact on refugee youths’ prior social identity, which influences their self-esteem, a significant predictor of positive mental well being. Different acculturative styles, adopted in response to discriminatory experiences, can protect or exacerbate mental well being. Additionally, the findings have demonstrated the significant role of primary caregivers in providing an anchor to refugee youths’ previous social and cultural identity. Therefore, for unaccompanied refugee youth (URY), maintaining heritage social identity (an important protective factor for mental well being) is more challenging. Although the adverse psychological effects resulting from primary caregiver separation are well recognised, the results highlight a negative impact on mental well being resulting from transgenerational acculturation differences. The absence of ties to past heritage social identity relieves URY from trans-generational acculturation conflict, thus facilitating the acculturative process and providing psychological benefit. These important findings require further exploration in the context of limited research concerning refugee youth’ mental wellbeing during resettlement.
Find out more about Julia's dissertation: https://www.manchester.ac.uk/discover/news/double-award-celebrations-for-hcri-students/
Jennifer’s dissertation: Improving the experience of seeking healthcare for women with FGM in the UK.
Dissertation abstract: Female genital mutilation (FGM) is an issue that has recently gained much media attention in the UK, following the conviction of a woman who had performed the practice on her daughter. This was the first sentence of FGM in the UK, under legislation brought out in 2003 banning the practice, marking a turning point in the recognition of FGM as a prevailing issue in this country. This paper identified a gap in research around FGM healthcare in the UK, in that literature typically looked at the experiences of women seeking healthcare or of healthcare professionals (HCPs) providing the care, however there was a lack of data that united the two perspectives. Henceforth, this paper set out to investigate how the experience of seeking healthcare in the UK for women with FGM could be improved, through the exploration of accounts from HCPs and women with FGM.
Research into the experiences of seeking and providing FGM healthcare highlighted the following key issues: feelings of shame, a culture of silence, an impact on sexuality and identity, reactions of shock and judgement, a lack of confidence in treatment, poor knowledge of the classification and management of FGM and the medicalisation of FGM. This paper then performed an analysis on the current UK guidelines on FGM for professionals, using inclusion of the issues raised, as markers for best practice. Assessment revealed that individually many of the guidelines lacked in their coverage of these issues, however collectively they were sufficient at informing professionals. Thus, the primary recommendation of this paper is that UK professionals use the FGM guidelines in conjunction with each other.
Event format: Welcome and introduction by Dr Jessica Hawkins prior, to individual presentations by Isabelle, Julia and Jennifer. A audience Q&A session will then proceed followed, by a networking session at 6pm. Free drinks and snacks will be available.
Please note this event is open to members of the public and no booking is required for this event, so simply turn up.
Role: BSc International Disaster Management and Humanitarian student 2018/19
Biography: Isabelle is a recent graduate from The Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute (HCRI) at The University of Manchester, where she received a first-class honours degree in International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response with French (BSc). Throughout Isabelle’s three-year degree, she studied a wide range of modules which highlighted the complex nature of humanitarian assistance and the socio-political impacts that it can have on disaster-affected communities globally. Isabelle was specifically interested in the anthropological side of disasters and how they affect the everyday lives of families and individuals, particularly in terms of disaster trauma and mental health.
Role: Intercalated BSc Global Health student 2018/19
Biography: Julia is currently a final year medical student studying at the University of Liverpool. Last year, I intercalated at the University of Manchester and completed a degree in Global Health due to my longstanding interest in international healthcare and health inequalities. For her dissertation Julia addressed the mental wellbeing of child refugees during resettlement- a topic that she believed to be of value due to the ever increasing political and environmental instability and a widespread rising hostility towards asylum seekers. After Julia completes her degree and qualifies in the coming August, she hopes to be working be working as a junior doctor in either the North West of England or London. Julia aims to take a break from training after these two years and work abroad in order to develop my skills as a global international doctor. I have a keen interest in paediatrics alongside global health and is considering training in this speciality in the future.
Role: Intercalated BSc Global Health student 2018/19
Biography: Jennifer Small is a student at the University of Manchester currently completing her 4th year of medicine. Last year she took a year out of her medical degree to complete the HCRI iBSc course in Global Health.