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

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

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


McColl, Lisa, Rural Society


Abstact

There are many factors that impact on mental health and the utilization of these services in the bush. The results from a three year ethnographic study in a bush community indicate that attitudes to mental health in this area of Queensland are influenced by bush identity, defined by reference to historical and current characteristics which include self-reliance, resilience, independence and stoicism. In turn, these incorporated attributes and values have a direct impact on attitudes to mental health and the willingness to seek help for problems of a psychological nature. Other aspects of bush life such as the perceived lack of confidentiality and anonymity, fear of gossip, and isolation also impact on attitudes and the utilisation of mental health resources. Stigma is a significant barrier to the recognition and acceptance of mental health issues. Mental health services, therefore, are not as readily accepted or utilised in this bush community. It can be argued that, without the acknowledgement of the impact of bush identity and culture on attitudes to mental health, many in the bush will continue to suffer in silence and deny the need for treatment.

Keywords

Bush, Bush identity, Bush culture, Mental health, Mental health services, Mental health consumers, Stigma, Isolation, Self-reliance

Received 22 June 2006 Accepted 30 May 2007

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. …

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

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

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.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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.

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.
    Sign up now 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.

    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.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.