All abilities trek to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko - Australia's highest peak

All abilities trek to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko - Australia's highest peak
All abilities trek to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko - Australia's highest peak - © Jennifer Johnson 2008

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wellness Tourism, Women and Mental Health

Small & Darcy (2010, p. 8) report on Australian National Visitor Survey figures that show that people with mental health issues report the lowest level of tourism participation of any group of people with disabilities. Yet, very little work has investigated the impact of mental health on tourism or the impact of tourism on mental health. Simone Fullagar (2011) presents an insightful chapter titled, Travelling with and Beyond Depression: Women’s Narratives of Recovery and Identity, which connects the growing body of work on wellness tourism to the well-developed work on women, disability studies, leisure studies and mental health. Tourism has had a long history of being identified as having connections to wellness, recovery and restoration where a break from our everyday lives provides a space in which we can recreate ourselves. Landscapes are the focus of many tourism experiences and Photo 1 presents an image of the beach, which has been long associated with a relaxing and restorative environment.
Photo 1: Seaside holidays and the Beach have been long associated with relaxation and restoration (Copyright © Tourism NSW)

Simone's chapter resonated with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's radio program Life Matters on the 22nd March 2011 and the interview can be listened to as a podcast on the following link.
The reference to this article as well as an extract of the introduction is now presented.
Fullagar, S. (2011). Chapter 7 - Travelling with and Beyond Depression: Women’s Naratives of Recovery and Identity. In D. Buhalis & S. Darcy (Eds.), Accessible Tourism: Concepts and Issues (pp. 123-137). Bristol, UK: Channel View Publications.


Copyright © 2010 Channelview publications. All rights reserved.

Introduction

Despite the growing prevalence and variety of mental health ‘problems’ within contemporary societies there has been surprisingly little exploration of the relationship between emotional distress/wellbeing and tourism experiences. This chapter aims to contribute a feminist perspective to the growing body of research into ‘wellness tourism’ (Smith & Kelly, 2006) through a focus on travel within Australian women’s narratives of recovery from depression.  Hence, it builds upon the expanding literature on women travellers (J Small, 1999; Tiyce, 2008; Wearing & Wearing, 1996; Wilson & Harris, 2006) by developing closer connections with work in disability studies, leisure studies and mental health (Fullagar, 2008; Fullagar & Brown, 2003; Kleiber, Hutchinson, & Williams, 2002; Stoppard, 2000). In particular I consider how meaningful travel experiences figured within women’s stories of moving through depression and renegotiating their sense of self in recovery (Wilson & Harris, 2006). In this way I explore a tension shaping the travel experience between understanding the ‘disabling effects’ of being diagnosed as mentally ‘ill’ as well as the transformative possibilities travel affords women.

In this chapter I argue that the liminal space of travel affords us another way of understanding the relational and multiple nature of women’s identity. Travel involves the movement away from home with its gendered responsibilities and expectations, as well as the movement towards other worlds and possible selves experienced within a relation to difference. In particular I focus on 11 narratives that identified the significance of travel within an Australian Research Council funded qualitative study involving 80 Australian women aged 20-75 who self-identified as recovering from depression. Ten women who identified themselves as travellers or tourists spoke of the embodied longing to move through places that gave them hope, desire and the vitality to escape the weight of depression. In contrast one woman spoke of how travel actually contributed to her depression rather than recovery. My analysis considers how women draw upon gendered discourses to articulate their recovering identity and identified three interrelated themes about travel experiences. These themes include; travel as a narrative of escape from gendered expectations of home, travel as a pleasurable form of risk taking and travel as a quest for a purposeful identity beyond deficit and depression.

Mental health and illness are also ‘liminal’ categories of human experience that have been culturally produced through the oppositional relations of the mind and body, reason and emotion, healthy and sick, normal and abnormal, self and other (Ussher, 1991; Wiener, 2005). In this context I explore how travel and tourism figure in the stories of those who are living with and moving through an identity formed around depression and gender. I conclude with a reflection upon the implications of the study for the fields of tourism and mental health with respect to ways of thinking about wellbeing.

To read the chapter please see,
Fullagar, S. (2011). Chapter 7 - Travelling with and Beyond Depression: Women’s Naratives of Recovery and Identity. In D. Buhalis & S. Darcy (Eds.), Accessible Tourism: Concepts and Issues (pp. 123-137). Bristol, UK: Channel View Publications.


References
Fullagar, S. (2011). Chapter 7 - Travelling with and Beyond Depression: Women’s Naratives of Recovery and Identity. In D. Buhalis & S. Darcy (Eds.), Accessible Tourism: Concepts and Issues (pp. 123-137). Bristol, UK: Channel View Publications.


4 comments:

  1. Hello,

    Very Nicely Put article. i really enjoyed it reading. i also did lots of good information from here. thanks for sharing such a good information. keep on posting such a good article here in future too.
    Neurology hospital India

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great post!!! I love this travelling and gatwick to heathrow journey most. Well, I am going to tell you a great story of gatwick from here. I hired a taxi from gatwick for traveling here. But unfortunately all gatwick taxi drivers become angry on me. They don’t like to heathrow to gatwick reverse transport. :P

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great post!!! I love this traveling and mental refreshment as cure ilness. thats a great idea on gatwick to heathrow journey most. Well, I am going to tell you a great story of gatwick from here. I hired a taxi from gatwick for traveling here. But unfortunately all gatwick taxi drivers become angry on me. They don’t like to heathrow to gatwick reverse transport. :P

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks Jessica, taxi transport can be problematic in lots of areas around the world. I'm not exactly sure about the problem between Heathrow to Gatwick with reverse transport but I wish you all the best with your travel endeavours.
    Simon

    ReplyDelete

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