Psychological and mental health well-being support for Vulnerable Mothers in Afghanistan

Psychological and mental health well-being support for Vulnerable Mothers in Afghanistan

Zahra, a 48-year-old mother, has been the primary caregiver for her nine children and her husband, who suffers from lumbar disc issues and kidney stones. They are originally from Bamiyan, and due to their economic and security challenges, they have been displaced to Kabul.

Although they hoped that, their financial situation would improve by moving to Kabul, unfortunately not only was this dream not fulfilled but they have been plagued with greater financial hardships which led to psychological challenges for them.

However, In Afghanistan, economic issues, poverty, and unemployment are widespread public challenges. But for Zahra and her family, these problems have had an especially severe impact, leading to mental health challenges. One significant factor contributing to their difficulties is the long-term illness of Zahra’s husband, which has prevented him from being able to work. As a result, Zahra, who used to be brave, has become a woman who constantly lives in fear and anxiety. The extreme financial challenges have brought mental hardships to Zahra and her family, leading her to experience fear, despair, and constant stress about the future, causing her a great deal of pain and distress.

Zahra tearfully explains “My husband worked tirelessly during his youth; the strenuous work took a toll on his health, leading to a painful lumbar disc condition.

Subsequently, he began experiencing excruciating kidney pain. When we referred him to the doctor, the doctor diagnosed that his kidney had a stone and needed an urgent operation but due to our financial difficulties, we are unable to afford this operation.

He is enduring immense suffering, and we struggle to provide him with the necessary medications. We only have a house which has been built by his tireless work but now we have nothing to secure our lives. Before his illness, we had a proper normal life but since he fell sick, we lost everything we had, except this house which is a haven for my children”.

Their financial constraints have made it difficult for them to afford treatment for his conditions. Zahra also has worked tirelessly to support her family, taking on various jobs such as working in people’s houses, washing clothes, and working on farms.

However, her income has always fallen short of their needs, especially with the large family and her husband’s medical expenses. The family has faced significant hardships and insecurity, both financially and emotionally. Zahra has struggled with stress and mental instability due to the challenges they have faced. Her husband’s illness has further exacerbated their difficulties, pushing them to the brink of famine, and has left Zahra feeling isolated and hopeless.

As part of LFT’s ongoing initiative to support vulnerable women in Afghanistan, Zahra was identified as a beneficiary of food assistance and mental health. This assistance includes the provision of nutritious food, as well as specialized training in mental health support and overall well-being.

Both forms of support have played a crucial role in alleviating the burdens and anxieties that Zahra has been shouldering, offering her a much-needed respite for her physical and mental well-being.

Through several sessions which are held by mental health trainers, Zahra has gained a better understanding of her mental health and learned valuable depression and stress-coping techniques and skills.

The intervention provided a safe space for her to express her emotions and address her grief and stresses healthily and positively.

Zahra gratefully adds “Before receiving such overwhelming assistance, Due to my financial difficulties, I was isolated, hopeless, and depressed, I have been plagued by a persistent fear of what the future may hold. This fear is deeply rooted in the uncertainty surrounding my husband’s illness and not being able to adequately provide for my children. The prospect of being unable to meet their daily needs, including putting food on the table and covering other essential expenses, is a source of immense distress. The responsibility of ensuring the well-being of my family weighs heavily on my shoulders, and the fear of falling short in this regard was a constant source of worry. Fortunately, the mental health team has helped me a lot, due to following a series of mental health training sessions, I experienced a profound restoration of my inner strength and resilience. These sessions enabled me to adopt a fresh perspective and approach, effectively shedding the negative thoughts and emotions that had been weighing me down. While the challenges and hardships of life remain unchanged, the support and guidance I received have imbued me with a newfound sense of hope and determination, equipping me with the energy and fortitude to confront and overcome them”.

Zahra has benefitted greatly from the mental health support provided. Through this assistance, she has been equipped with valuable methods and techniques for managing stress, healthily coping with depression and anxiety, and cultivating an optimistic and hopeful mindset. These invaluable tools have not only enabled Zahra to navigate life’s challenges with resilience but have also alleviated the emotional burdens she has been carrying, allowing her to embrace a more positive outlook on life.