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Professional Migration, Occupational Challenge, and Mental Health: Medical Practitioners in New Zealand, 1850s-1890s

Tomkins

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Abstract

Australasian colonies were promoted as ‘lands of opportunity’ for British medical practitioners of the Victorian period, but once there doctors often found that any problems they faced had travelled with them. Furthermore, the act of migration could add to personal difficulty. This article builds on existing work about the challenges confronting doctors in England, and on the potential of asylum records to address the consequences of migration, to consider the experiences of men who chose to move round the globe. It concerns practitioners’ turbulent careers in New Zealand, with an emphasis on their poor mental health and suicide. Official and personal sources are used to evaluate the impact of professional drivers, and the consequences for medical men. It concludes that migration did not mitigate professional stresses and instead induced or exacerbated personal crisis. The visibility of alcohol-related distress is particularly marked in contrast to evidence for practitioners in England.

Citation

Tomkins. (2020). Professional Migration, Occupational Challenge, and Mental Health: Medical Practitioners in New Zealand, 1850s-1890s. Social History of Medicine, 874-894. https://doi.org/10.1093/shm/hkaa064

Acceptance Date Aug 11, 2020
Publication Date Sep 24, 2020
Journal Social History of Medicine
Print ISSN 0951-631X
Publisher Oxford University Press
Pages 874-894
DOI https://doi.org/10.1093/shm/hkaa064
Keywords mental health, migration, New Zealand, medical, professions
Publisher URL https://academic.oup.com/shm/advance-article/doi/10.1093/shm/hkaa064/5910747

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