Lived Experience of Psychosocial Disability and Social Inclusion: A Participatory Photovoice Study in Rural India and Nepal

Helen Lea Fernandes, Stephanie Cantrill, Ram Lal Shrestha, Rachel Belda Raj, Becca Allchin, Raj Kamal, Nicole Butcher, Nathan Grills


Purpose: This study aimed to investigate the experiences of people living with a psychosocial disability in rural India and Nepal, and to highlight key barriers and enablers for inclusion.

Method: Participatory action research approaches and Photovoice methodology were employed to investigate the lived experience of 32 participants in rural India and Nepal. There were 12 participants and 4 caregivers of people with psychosocial disability from each of the two countries. Semi-structured interviews with study participants were transcribed and analysed thematically to answer the study question.

Results: The findings revealed themes related to various supports, meaningful engagement in activity, and community awareness. Among these categories were both enabling and impeding factors to inclusion, the presence or absence of which was typically associated with improvements or worsening of symptoms respectively.

Conclusions and Implications: This study underscores the need for integrated community-based approaches that are multisectoral, inclusive of family, and strengthen community responses. Photovoice was also shown to be a feasible research methodology for providing insights into the lived experience of people with psychosocial disability and for fostering their empowerment.


Psychosocial disability; lived experience; inclusion; participation; photovoice; natural supports; family; community advocates

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