The Rural Mental Health Photovoice Study

Mental health is a major health issue in Canada. With our aging population, mental health concerns are increasing in this age group. The number of adults 50 and over continue to increase, especially in rural areas, and there is little information about their experiences with mental health concerns. Our research sought to understand the experiences of adults 50 and over with mental health concerns living in rural areas within the southern interior of British Columbia. We looked at this age because of significant, common transitions that affect mental health (e.g., new physical health conditions, retirement). Eight
participants were a part of this research study and all had a mental health concern.

To explore their experiences, participants were provided with cameras. They used these cameras to take pictures to document meaningful parts of their lives, and selected their most significant photos. These photos were then reviewed in individual interviews with the researcher. Participants met to go over major findings with the researchers and agreed with these themes. Key findings included: services and supports, how to care for wellbeing, stigma, losses, and their environment. We asked participants how they wanted to share the findings. Participants thought that a website would be a good way to share their stories.