“This place is getting to me”

Geographical understandings of mental health

Authored by: Liz Twigg , Craig Duncan

Routledge Handbook of Health Geography

Print publication date:  June  2018
Online publication date:  June  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138098046
eBook ISBN: 9781315104584
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter outlines the ways in which medical and health geographers have contributed to our understanding of mental health. The narrative presented focuses on mental illness and is divided into two main parts. The first part discusses quantitative modeling of mental-health outcomes, detailing how aspects of individual, household and neighborhood socioeconomic context interact to influence risk. Much of this work is interdisciplinary and is produced in collaboration with medical practitioners working in the field of psychiatric morbidity; it addresses both geography and epidemiology audiences. The second part considers the use of qualitative approaches in elucidating the way in which the identities of those experiencing poor mental health are associated with the features and social meaning of places. While these place-based processes may lead to heightened feelings of marginalization, stigmatization, isolation and helplessness, they can also lead to a sense of empowerment, control and more positive identities. Where relevant, we refer to literature highlighting these positive impacts but generally leave wellness to take center stage elsewhere in this book.

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