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Impact Of Gender-Based Violence In Mental Health Care – IMPRI Impact And Policy Research Institute


Gender-based violence casts a long and dark shadow over societies worldwide, permeating every facet of life and leaving deep scars on survivors. Within this complex tapestry of violence, the intersectionality of mental health and gender dynamics emerges as a critical focal point for advocacy and intervention. At the Gender and Mental Health certificate program organized by the Impact and Policy Research Institute, Ms. Sangeeta Rege delivered a profoundly insightful address, shedding light on the nuanced interplay between gender-based violence and mental health care. Ms. Rege articulated a compelling narrative that underscores the urgent need for gender-sensitive approaches within healthcare settings and systemic reforms to ensure equitable access to mental health services for all survivors.

Setting the Context

In her opening remarks, Ms. Rege adeptly set the stage by contextualizing the pervasive nature of gender-based violence within societal structures. She emphasized the importance of acknowledging the diverse experiences of individuals affected by such violence, extending beyond traditional gender binaries to include trans individuals, those in same-sex relationships, and other marginalized groups. By centring the discussion on intersectionality, Ms. Rege laid a solid foundation for delving into the complex interconnections between gender-based violence and mental health.

Medical Education and Psychiatric Curriculum

Transitioning to a more granular examination of the healthcare landscape, Ms. Rege turned her attention to the evolving terrain of medical education. She elucidated the updates brought about by competency-based medical education, particularly within the psychiatric curriculum. Through her insightful analysis, Ms. Rege highlighted the perceptions of medical educators within psychiatry regarding gender-based violence, underscoring the need for comprehensive training to address these complex issues effectively. Ms. Rege emphasized the critical importance of integrating gender-sensitive approaches into the training curriculum.

Psychological Consequences of Gender-Based Violence

Ms. Rege’s address discussed the profound psychological impact of gender-based violence on survivors. Drawing from a wealth of research studies, she eloquently articulated the multifaceted trauma experienced by survivors of rape and other forms of violence. Ms. Rege underscored the imperative of understanding the unique psychological needs of survivors and providing gender-sensitive responses within the healthcare system to address their mental health challenges effectively. By shining a spotlight on the often-overlooked psychological consequences of gender-based violence, Ms. Rege illuminated the path forward for trauma-informed care and survivor-centered interventions.

Transitioning from theoretical discourse to pragmatic realities, Ms. Rege delved into the pervasive biases and inequalities entrenched within the healthcare system. She lamented the dearth of research focusing on women’s healthcare needs, particularly in resource-constrained settings, and underscored the urgent need for rectifying this disparity. She elucidated the systemic barriers that hinder survivors’ access to quality mental health care, ranging from stigma and discrimination to structural inadequacies within healthcare settings.

Drawing from firsthand accounts, she illuminated the myriad challenges faced by survivors in seeking legal justice, navigating societal stigma, and accessing support services. Through these powerful narratives, Ms. Rege humanized the often-abstract discourse surrounding gender-based violence, shedding light on the lived experiences of those directly impacted by systemic inequities. By amplifying survivor voices, Ms. Rege underscored the urgent need for systemic reforms to ensure survivors receive the support and justice they deserve.

Healthcare Provider’s Role in Mental Health

In her final segment, Ms. Rege introduced the First Line Support model, emphasizing the pivotal role of healthcare providers in offering empathetic and non-judgmental support to survivors. She delineated the five tasks of the model (Listen, Inquire, Validate, Enhance safety, and support), underscoring the importance of actively listening to survivors’ experiences and connecting them to appropriate resources for comprehensive care. She challenged healthcare providers to embrace a survivor-centered approach that prioritizes empathy, compassion, and respect.


In conclusion, Ms. Sangeeta Rege’s address provided invaluable insights into the intricate interplay between gender-based violence and mental health care. Her call for gender-sensitive approaches within healthcare settings serves as a clarion call for systemic reforms and underscores the imperative of ensuring equitable access to mental health services for all survivors.

Acknowledgement: This article was published by Rehmat Arora, a Research Intern at IMPRI.

Read more event reports of IMPRI here:
Empowering Mental Health: A Gender-Sensitive Approach
Navigating the Complexities of Mental Health: A Holistic Perspective

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