The impact of rurality on depression in rural Australia

Socio-cultural reflections for social change

Stephanie J. Johnson, Angela Ragusa

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)

Abstract

Globally, depression is well known to be a major medical problem. In rural and remote communities, the condition often remains less visible than in urban locations. Geographical and infrastructural limitations pose additional challenges to its disclosure, documentation and treatment. Historically, depression was understood from a biomedical model characterised by an individualistic understanding. Thus, treatment of this mental illness has remained largely at an individual, rather than community,level. This chapter conceptualises major depression as a social problem impacted and shaped by systemic conditions that require a holistic understanding. Depression requires transcending an ideology of individualism to be more successfully addressed and treated. To achieve this, sociological concepts, such as social capital, social networks, social isolation and others, are identified as paramount for re-conceptualising depression, which is understood to result from the dynamic relationship existingbetween individuals and their broader communities, including the natural environment. In this chapter, we commence this task through a critical literature review examining biomedical and alternative discourses and research literature on depression as a mental illness. Our objective is to demonstrate how the unique geospatial characteristics of rural and remote Australian communities pose unique challenges for the management and treatment of depression, particularly for women and other disadvantaged social groups. Although feminist and alternative discourses have largely remained outside mental health arenas, their potential to consider different bodies of evidence, such as the range of barriers rural and remote Australians face in accessing and utilising mental health services in comparison with urban counterparts, is argued invaluable to the treatment and prevention of major depression.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRural lifestyles, community well-being and social change
Subtitle of host publicationLessons from country Australia for global citizens
EditorsAngela T Ragusa
Place of PublicationUnited States
PublisherBentham Science Publishers
Chapter5
Pages206-252
Number of pages47
ISBN (Print)9781608058037
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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social change
mental illness
community
mental health
discourse
social problem
individualism
documentation
social capital
social isolation
social network
health service
ideology
management
evidence

Cite this

Johnson, S. J., & Ragusa, A. (2014). The impact of rurality on depression in rural Australia: Socio-cultural reflections for social change. In A. T. Ragusa (Ed.), Rural lifestyles, community well-being and social change: Lessons from country Australia for global citizens (pp. 206-252). United States: Bentham Science Publishers. https://doi.org/10.2174/9781608058020114010001
Johnson, Stephanie J. ; Ragusa, Angela. / The impact of rurality on depression in rural Australia : Socio-cultural reflections for social change. Rural lifestyles, community well-being and social change: Lessons from country Australia for global citizens. editor / Angela T Ragusa. United States : Bentham Science Publishers, 2014. pp. 206-252
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Johnson, SJ & Ragusa, A 2014, The impact of rurality on depression in rural Australia: Socio-cultural reflections for social change. in AT Ragusa (ed.), Rural lifestyles, community well-being and social change: Lessons from country Australia for global citizens. Bentham Science Publishers, United States, pp. 206-252. https://doi.org/10.2174/9781608058020114010001

The impact of rurality on depression in rural Australia : Socio-cultural reflections for social change. / Johnson, Stephanie J.; Ragusa, Angela.

Rural lifestyles, community well-being and social change: Lessons from country Australia for global citizens. ed. / Angela T Ragusa. United States : Bentham Science Publishers, 2014. p. 206-252.

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)

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Johnson SJ, Ragusa A. The impact of rurality on depression in rural Australia: Socio-cultural reflections for social change. In Ragusa AT, editor, Rural lifestyles, community well-being and social change: Lessons from country Australia for global citizens. United States: Bentham Science Publishers. 2014. p. 206-252 https://doi.org/10.2174/9781608058020114010001