Dr. Rachel Herron

Research Involves

Using community-based research to develop more supportive environments for mental health in rural and remote areas.

Research Relevance

This research will inform community development, public health, policy, and programming around issues of mental health

Creating Better Places for Rural and Remote Mental Health

People living in rural places share specific challenges and opportunities related to experiences of mental health and care provision. Research on rural and remote mental health has tended to focus on what is lacking: specialized health services, health professionals, public transportation systems, education about mental health issues, and support for family caregivers. Recognizing these challenges, Dr. Rachel Herron’s research involves working with rural communities to realize the existing and potential opportunities to provide better support for mental health and well-being in rural places.

Dr. Herron uses a range of different methods, including surveys, diaries, interviews, and observational research to develop a better understanding of diverse experiences of mental health. She also explores the vulnerability and resilience of family and friend care networks with the goal of enhancing the sustainability of such support. Working with people with mental health conditions, family members, and community care providers, she is exploring the use of technology and arts-based approaches to improve opportunities for meaningful participation for people with mental health conditions in rural communities.

Dr. Herron’s research will assess the effectiveness of community initiatives to improve individual’s sense of well-being as well as their access to health and social care in rural and remote areas. Her findings will have direct relevance for future programming and policy initiatives. Most importantly, Dr. Herron’s research will give voice to the experiences of people with mental health conditions in rural and remote Canada, which are often invisible and unheard.