The Influence of Bush Identity on Attitudes to Mental Health in a Queensland Community

By McColl, Lisa | Rural Society, October 1, 2007 | Go to article overview

The Influence of Bush Identity on Attitudes to Mental Health in a Queensland Community


McColl, Lisa, Rural Society


Introduction

Mental health in the bush has become issue of pressing concern in recent years. There has been an increase in stress, emotional problems, and suicide, often resulting from the increasing economic recession due to long-term drought, service withdrawal and government restructuring. The challenges faced in providing mental health support to the bush have reached a critical juncture. However, there are many barriers that affect the capacity of people in the bush to access mental health services. This article is a result of research carried out as part a PhD dissertation (McColl 2005). For the purposes of this research, the community was called 'Ruraltown'.1 The weight of evidence, supported through this research and other literature (Alston & Kent 2004; Bourke 2001; Bushy 2000; Cheers 1998; Day & Dunt 1994; Dunn 1996; Fuller, Edwards, Proctor & Moss 2000; Griffiths 1996; Gray, Lawrence & Dunn 1993; Humphreys 2000; Judd, Murray, Fraser, Humphreys, Hodgkins & Jackson 2002; O'Hehir 1995; Rolley & Humphreys 1993), suggests that there is a very strong connection between bush identity and attitudes to mental health, and that mental health status and treatment is directly influenced by bush culture and identity, with all its associated characteristics, traditions and mores.

The contention here is that many aspects of the historical Australian bush identity, popularised in the nineteenth century, persist today. While it is recognised that a number of the characteristics described in this identity are common to rural people in other lands and in Australian rural communities, the circumstances in which the bush identity was created and internalised are what make the Australian bush identity distinctive (Hodges 1982; Ker Conway 1989; Walter 1992; White 1981). The fact that Australia is historically, socially, geographically and culturally different is what makes bush identity unique. It is not only a rural identity, it is a bush identity, and it refers to those people who live and work in the pastoral industries of the Outback, the industries with which the bush identity was first associated in the nineteenth century. It is a constructed bush identity of a settler society with penal origins. Australia's original penal status was fundamental to the genesis of this identity (Alomes 1991; Colling 1992; Eddy 1991). In order to rid Australia of the convict stain, a new image and identity was procured and sought in the bush. These penal origins, the vast distances between inhabited areas and the search for a unique national identity, distinct from Britain, contributed to the cultural construction, assignment and recognition of this identity. 'Bush' and 'rural' are not used interchangeably in this study; they encompass different characteristics and spaces, as do urban areas (Dale 1994; Gray & Phillips 2001; Judd et al. 2002; Poiner 1990).

Bush culture, bush identity & mental health issues: A literature review

The literature (Alomes 1991; Hirst 1992; Ker Conway 1989; Schaffer 1988; Walter 1992; Ward 1958; White 1981) suggests that there was a basic identity and code of behaviour in the bush, especially strong in men, that suggested one must be stoic, independent, strong, determined, resourceful and rarely admit defeat or ask for help. The socialisation of bush people in histoncal Australia since European settlement, and its reinforcement through institutional and governmental agency, has been so effective that many of the traditional qualities and personality characteristics persist today. The findings from this research suggest that the popularised image of previous generations of bush Australians, demonstrating attributes such as stoic independence, resourcefulness and strength, are embedded in "bush' society and influence the population today. Bush culture provides guidelines for the identity of bush people and, therefore, mental health is a term that is not readily identified with or accepted. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Influence of Bush Identity on Attitudes to Mental Health in a Queensland Community
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    New feature

    It is estimated that 1 in 10 people have dyslexia, and in an effort to make Questia easier to use for those people, we have added a new choice of font to the Reader. That font is called OpenDyslexic, and has been designed to help with some of the symptoms of dyslexia. For more information on this font, please visit OpenDyslexic.org.

    To use OpenDyslexic, choose it from the Typeface list in Font settings.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.