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Community displacement, environmental change and the impact on mental well-being

Published:October 22, 2020DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apnu.2020.10.012
      The individual characteristics of places are vital in determining quality of life. The internal structure of places and the differences between places also matter greatly in terms of socioeconomic inequality. However, it is difficult to measure what matters about places because their nature depends on both physical and social characteristics. They not only have a location, territorial domain, and natural environment, but also are social constructs, shaped by human behavior and interactions….The character of a place, its identity, and its people's sense of rootedness are shaped by interactions within the place and with other places (
      • National Research Council
      Community and quality of life: Data needs for informed decision making.
      ). Although the literature clearly identifies the importance of “place”, many populations have experienced change in “place” in which they have been historically embedded due to a variety of circumstances (both voluntary and involuntary). When those changes occur involuntarily, the impact on individuals, populations and communities can be significant. Involuntary displacement can result from events such as war and conflict, persecution, and climate change as well as planned structural change. Although factors that initiate involuntary displacement differ, the emotional sense of rootedness, social connectedness and identity, and as a result, mental well-being are significantly affected (
      • Deola C.
      • Patel R.B.
      Health outcomes of crisis driven urban displacement: A conceptual framework.
      ;
      • Heslin A.
      • Deckard N.D.
      • Oakes R.
      • Montero-Colbert A.
      Displacement and resettlement: Understanding the role of climate change in contemporary migration.
      ;
      • United Nations High Commission for Refugees
      Global trends – Forced displacement in 2018.
      ).
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