Rural Women, Mental Health and Economic Development

  • Janice Wood Wetzel


Even though the United Nations has recognized the higher rates of mental illness among women throughout the world (Women’s International Network, 1985), the reality was virtually ignored by the recorders of the Decade of Women. The Forward-Looking Strategies do not mention the subject. I have chosen to incorporate mental health concerns into this chapter on rural women because they are most vulnerable, and because most of the world’s women live in rural areas. The content is based on cross-cultural research conducted at Forum ’85, the non-governmental component of the final United Nations Decade of Women meeting in Africa (Wetzel, 1987). This section deviates slightly from the format of other chapters in that the entire chapter is organized around the identified negative barriers and positive catalysts for human development and mental health. They are described in Chapter 1 as person-environment dimensions of Aloneness, Connectedness, Action, and Perception, and are the concepts on which the programs detailed in each chapter are based. Much of the discussion is also pertinent to urban women, many of whom are emigrating from rural areas, and are projected as a majority population in the early 21st century.


Mental Health Mental Health System Rural Woman Urban Woman Primary Mental Health Care 
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Copyright information

© Janice Wood Wetzel 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janice Wood Wetzel
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Social WorkAdelphi UniversityGarden CityUSA

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