Trauma experienced in the genocide period, mental health effects and barriers to care 17 years later
European Journal of Public Health
In 1994, Rwanda experienced genocide and an estimated 800.000 people lost their lives. People lived through mass killings, witnessed family members and near relatives being murdered, women and young girls were exposed to sexual violence and millions of people fled to neighbouring countries. This study investigated mental health effects of genocide trauma 17 years later in men and women, aged 20 -35 years. Health care seeking behaviour and barriers to care related to mental problems were further
... oblems were further investigated. Methods A population based prevalence study was performed in the Southern province, including 440 men and 477 women. Barriers to care were investigated by use of focus group discussions with mental health professionals. Content analysis, manifest and latent, were used for analysis. Results Prevalence of depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD and suicide risk, were almost twice as high in women as in men. A clear association was found for both men and women between exposure to a summary index of traumatic episodes in 1994 and mental disorders. Barriers identified by health professionals in mental health services included poverty and lack of family support, fear of stigmatization, poor community awareness of mental disorders and beliefs in traditional healers and prayers. Further were gender differences pronounced, with women being "weaker" and more willing to seek help and men seen as "stronger", able to solve problems on their own.