Belonging and Mental Wellbeing Among a Rural Indian-Canadian Diaspora: Navigating Tensions in "Finding a Space of Our Own".

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Abstract

Belonging is linked to a variety of positive health outcomes. Yet this relationship is not well understood, particularly among rural immigrant diasporas. In this article, we explore the experiences of community belonging and wellbeing among a rural Indian-Canadian diaspora in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada, our central research questions being, "What are the experiences of belonging in this community? How does a sense of belonging (or lack of) shape mental health and wellbeing among local residents?" Using a situational analysis research approach, our findings indicate that local residents must navigate several tensions within an overarching reality of finding a space of our own. Such tensions reveal contradictory experiences of tight-knitedness, context-informed notions of cultural continuity, access/acceptability barriers, particularly in relation to rural agricultural living, and competing expectations of "small town" life. Such tensions can begin to be addressed through creative service provision, collaborative decision making, and diversity-informed program planning.

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