The Silent Struggle: Economic Hardship and Its Impact on Children's Mental Health
Radha, a spirited girl with a friendly smile used to visit the park everyday to play on the swings. Her family had modest means and after a long bout of their mother’s illness, they got trapped under debts and a relentless grip of poverty. Radha and her brother were bright kids but their parents’ mounting financial struggles started to cast a shadow on their personalities. Their household was plagued by a continuous cycle of abuse and neglect, that resulted in unrelenting stress and frustration as a result of their economic deprivation.
The absence of stability and security took a toll on Radha's innocent mind, causing nightmares and an ever-growing fear. The children, witnessing frequent episodes of domestic abuse before their eyes, became prisoners of fear and anxiety, haunted by the echoes of raised voices and shattered dreams. The family’s financial and domestic struggles started taking a toll on children’s mental health.
The plight of both the children was noticed by a health care worker who frequently visited their neighbourhood. She visited Radha’s parents and gently explained how their troubles were affecting their children mentally as well as physically. She started visiting the family regularly, spending time to explain the symptoms and causes of depression and anxiety to improve their understanding and help them support their kids. She introduced them to the REAN HealthGuru chatbot that they could download on WhatsApp and use it to ask any questions related to mental health and get answers in their language.
This continued effort eventually bore results and in a few months Radha and her brother started coming out of their shell. They started smiling and playing with other children once again while taking more interest in their studies. This small victory motivated the local health center to get more families to download the REAN HealthGuru chatbot to spread awareness about various mental health conditions. Many families found it easy to use the WhatsApp-based chatbot to clarify their doubts without the fear of being judged. Their knowledge improved by watching videos that explained the causes, symptoms and management of illnesses.
Health care workers had found a technology partner to provide accessible mental health support to a community that had little awareness or financial means to access the required professional care. Working together with REAN HealthGuru allowed the care workers to promote early intervention programs, and establish a network of social support.
This story shares one of the many scenarios where REAN HealthGuru can be effectively used by healthcare providers to spread awareness, collect health data and analyze trends allowing them to implement care initiatives for better, far-reaching results while making it much easier for patients and their families to reach out for help and be prepared to manage the condition better.
REAN HealthGuru is collaborating with on-ground partners to develop technology-based solutions that provide support to primary healthcare workers to enhance their reach.