Rural madness: a geographical reading and critique of the rural mental health literature

Nicola Burns, Chris Philo, Hester Parr

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    101 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper provides a geographical reading and critique of existing literature on rural mental health. It investigates what this literature has to say about how different dimensions of rural space - physical, demographic, economic, social and cultural - impact upon both the mental health of rural dwellers and the provision of mental health services to rural populations. It is argued that there is much to be learned from the existing literature, although caution is expressed about slipping into stereotypical notions regarding the constitution of rural space. Questions are raised about a common tendency to lean upon more or less examined rural-urban contrasts, although useful reflections can be found on the tangled representational politics of rural mental health embedded within differing characterisations of the countryside as opposed to the city.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)259-281
    Number of pages22
    JournalJournal of Rural Studies
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


    • rural life
    • mental health
    • rural mental health
    • rural space
    • countryside
    • mental health services
    • geographical studies


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