Mental health and economic empowerment for rural women

Mental health is often neglected in discourse regarding women economic empowerment. Women in rural areas with mental health issues are not only marginalised due to poverty but also mental health issues. Mental health restricts ones ability to fully participate in the economic arena in society. Women with mental health issues are less likely to receive assistance in rural areas. This further isolates them and further entangles them in the cycle of poverty.


The causes of mental health may be genetic or caused by exterior environmental indicators/stressors. Rape, forced marriages, child marriages and high fertility rates are triggers and contributors to mental health.


Superstition based in cultural beliefs stops women in rural areas from receiving assistance and care for mental illness. Healthcare facilities in rural areas are deeply underfunded and normally only care for physical illnesses. Poor infrastructure, language barriers and lack of health insurance also prevent rural women from receiving care and treatment.

Governments should provide more funding to rural health care facilities. There should be an increase in social workers and psychologists in rural area healthcare facilities. Education regarding human rights and gender equality is imperative to changing the socio-cultural thinking and landscape in rural areas. Governments and NGO should increase advocacy and awareness regarding mental health and superstitions on mental health.

What are your opinions on mental health in rural areas? I look forward to the discussion.

  • Irene Lyimo


    With reference to what you have pointed, it is true mental health have become a challenge to many developing countries.

    Improved health facilities only will not be a solution since we will be dealing with effects.

    I will suggest we dig down to route cause for mental health, in doing so we will be able to reduce or eliminate the number of mental health cases in our societies.

  • Ogbeyalu Okoye
    A solution I believe can be found with excellent health system and availability of health system all over the world. This would help in inclusive growth.
    • Danayi Musamirapamwe
      I agree Ogbeyalu improved healthcare is the solution. I hope developing countries seriously invest and improve health systems for all citizens.
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  • Ana Chkheidze
    Good topic for discussion Danayi, unfortunately people with mental illnesses tend to receive little attention from the government and NGOs, especially in rural areas that are more isolated. I agree that the education and more funding are necessary to change socio-cultural thinking and landscape in rural areas, but many funding is required to do so. In underdeveloped countries where poverty prevails the help in rural area is mainly done by the immediate family, neighbors and friends rather than government.
    • Danayi Musamirapamwe
      Thank you for your comment Ana. You are right mental illness receives little attention and only close friends and family are there to assist. I really hope it changes because the cycle of poverty wll never be broken until there is real investment in empowering rural women.
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  • Gee Chids
    Its very sad that most people with mental problems in rural areas do not receive any medication at all.
    • Danayi Musamirapamwe
      Thank you Gladys, breaking the stigma of mental illness is one of the reasons women in rural areas do get help. The biggest reason is that they do not have access to medication and assistance.
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  • It's sad Danayi that most women with mental illnesses end up as victims to other social ills. Something needs to be done at the family levels to help these people. Government policies targeting these people tend to be few.

    However, there is a general belief that mental illnesses are caused by socio-cultural misanomalies which eventually affects access to basic services for such people.

    At the religious level, I have witnessed such people receiving healing deliverance. So policy makers should rope in churches, hospitals, actually all stakeholders to find lasting solutions to such critical societal issues.
    • Danayi Musamirapamwe
      Thank you for your comment Olivia. I couldnt have said it better, assisting women in rural areas requires combined efforts of family, government and churches.
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  • Dr Rejoice Shumba
    Thanks for raising this topic Danai. 

    This is an important issue. Mental health affects the ability of people to effectively participate in education and work. Adressing its root causes is important if it is to be eliminated. 
    • Danayi Musamirapamwe
      Thank you for your comment Rejoice. I like the aspect of addressing the root causes to eliminate it.
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