Asst. Prof. Maria Carinnes P. Alejandria, PhD of the Department of Sociology won a two-year multi-million peso research grant from the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD), for a nationwide qualitative study on mental health.
According to Alejandria, “the project is designed as a descriptive qualitative study which will primarily employ the anthropological methods of focused ethnography to document and map the socio-cultural contexts of mental health issues among university students. The participants of this study will be identified through the assistance of the research collaborators of participating private and state universities, whose locations are selected based on the cultural representations that could be generated due to a pluralistic demography. Apart from this, these locations have universities with established guidance and counselling programs.”
Furthermore, Alejandria stated that the project’s key assertion is that “efficient mental health intervention can only be drawn from a culturally relevant understanding of the lived experiences of the patients.” The aim of the work is “the development of patient-centered interventions that could have social, economic, and policy impacts.” Among the tools to be used are “interviews, focus group discussions, and other processes available in focused ethnography.” The project will cover Manila, as well as the provinces of Albay, Benguet, Palawan, Rizal, Leyte, and Davao.
Alejandria is the Research Interest Group Lead for Social Health Studies at the Research Center for Social Sciences and Education. Joining her in the team as co-leads are Simbahayan Community Development Office Director Froilan A. Alipao, MCD, Communications Bureau Assistant Director for Online Philippe Jose S. Hernandez, and Senior High School Humanities and Social Sciences Strand Chair Marie Antonette D. Quan.