Community transformed? Exploring the interaction between online support and rural community life for people with acute mental health conditions

Sue Kilpatrick, Jane Farmer, Sherridan Emery, Peter Kamstra, Artur Steiner, Anthony McCosker, Karen Carlisle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Since the onset of COVID-19, the benefits of online platforms to enhance rural service accessibility are more acknowledged. However, questions remain about the interconnected roles of geographical community and online digital communities in enhancing rural life – particularly for marginalised groups. In this study, we examine one Australian non-profit's online peer support forums as technology enabling transformed community experiences for rural people with mental health conditions. Interviews exploring forum use were conducted with 20 rural forum users in 2021. We found technology affordances were appropriated to target rural service and social interaction gaps, giving people resources used online, and also enabling coping in their geographical community. The study illustrates the benefits of understanding what rural people do with different technologies that can illuminate how apparently “one-size-fits-all” technologies can be appropriated to fill certain rural structural holes in social and service systems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-175
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Volume99
Early online date23 Mar 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

Keywords

  • Community
  • Health forums
  • Mental health
  • Online forums
  • Rural health
  • Technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science

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