Mental health and older women: The challenges for social perspectives and community capacity building

Fawcett, Barbara and Reynolds, Jill (2010). Mental health and older women: The challenges for social perspectives and community capacity building. British Journal of Social Work, 40(5) pp. 1488–1502.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcp042

Abstract

Older women tend to be either rendered invisible in relation to considerations of mental health or, conversely, constructed as potential mental health problems. In this article, we draw attention to the position of older women with regard to current debates in the mental health field. It is argued that, within the UK and Australia, the prioritization of the management of risk and what an older woman cannot do rather than what she can adversely affects not only her mental well-being, but also the contribution that she can make to the community in which she lives. We argue that the fostering of strengths-based community capacity building, which includes proactive, innovative and flexible underpinning practice principles, has the capacity to expand rather than reduce horizons for older women, to confront restrictive and discriminatory barriers and to enhance quality-of-life factors.

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