Conceptualization of Mental Health among Selected Filipino Mothers in Post-Disaster Communities in Southern Tagalog
Authors / Editors: Botor, Nephtaly Joel B.
Conceptualization of mental health relates to parents’ and their children’s psychological wellbeing and disparities (Guzman, 2012). In the Philippines, where mental health models are primarily derived from the West, exploring local ideas about mental health is indispensable. This was the aim of the present exploratory study among 55 selected mothers from post-Haiyan communities in Southern Tagalog. A researcher-made questionnaire was used to inquire descriptors of mental health, factors influencing mental health, and coping. Upon thematically-analyzing respondents’ answers, it was revealed that selected mothers described mentally healthy persons as having: (a) remarkable mental clarity, sharpness and ability, (b) positive thought, (c) positive affect, (d) resiliency and hardiness, (e) remarkable physical health, (f) social agreeableness, (g) future orientation, and (h) spirituality. Conversely, they characterized mentally unhealthy persons as having: (a) problems, (b) negative affect, (c) cluttered mind, (d) anxiety, (e) social repulsiveness, (f) unhealthy body, and (g) destructive ways of coping. When asked about what influences mental health, mothers referred to factors pertaining to: (a) self, (b) family, (c) environment, (d) health and lifestyle, (e) cognition, (f) money and livelihood, (g) leisure and relaxation, (h) knowledge and skill, (i) social, and (j) spirituality. Most importantly, when asked how to cope with mental health threats, they shared activities falling under (a) support-seeking, (b) solution-seeking, and (c) strength-seeking. The study culminated with insights on the value of involving families and communities in mental health programs and psychological services, and of indigenizing psychological and mental health models and theories.
(Botor & Brozula, unpublished)