Impact of River Bank Erosion on Mental Health and Coping Capacity in Bangladesh
Riverbank erosion is a regular phenomenon that displaces millions of people every year worldwide. More than 100,000 people are displaced due to river erosion every year in Bangladesh. People have to resettle in a different place leaving behind their property and familiar environment. This transformation with economic crisis acts as a major stressor for the persons and their families. However, people may adapt different strategies to adapt this difficult situation and keep themselves healthy. They might have higher coping skills due to what they had to endure. This study aimed to find out the difference in the mental health status and coping strategies among the river bank erosion affected and non-affected people in Bangladesh
We interviewed 100 adult respondents, of whom 50 had been affected and 50 had never been affected by river erosion in Bangladesh. All the participants completed self-report sociodemographic questionnaires; their mental state was evaluated with the Bangla version of the General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12) and the coping was measured using the COPE scale.
The mental health well-being score of the affected group was significantly lower than the non-affected group. However, accounting for gender, income and age, the affected group had lower mean score in coping (55.86) then the non-affected group (64.04). However, the difference was not statistically significant.
Riverbank erosion is a major natural disaster in Bangladesh that makes people vulnerable to mental disorder. However, it receives less attention; we hope this study will stimulate future researcher to explore mental state and coping mechanism in multiple perspectives and develop evidence-based service for them.
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