Experiences of connectedness and mental wellbeing in the Scottish islands

Janet Heaton

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Having a sense of connection with people and belonging to place are important for mental wellbeing. These dimensions of connectedness are often studied separately, using different theoretical frameworks, such as social capital and topophilia. Based on a mapping review of the literature, this paper aims to examine the available evidence on how mental health and wellbeing has been influenced by people’s experiences of different di- mensions of connectedness in the population of the Scottish islands. The findings show the importance of people having a sense of connection not only to communities present and past, but also to the land, and to the natural environment. They also show how experiences of these different facets of connectedness vary between social groups and shift over time, and how they are sustained through social practices in different places and spaces of interaction on the islands. Reflecting on these findings, the paper considers the strengths and limits of existing approaches. It suggests that there may be a value in using more integrated and context-sensitive approaches in future, to better understand the intersections between different dimensions of connectedness and how they contribute to overall mental wellbeing in given populations and places.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100181
Number of pages8
JournalWellbeing, Space and Society
Early online date22 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2023


  • Mapping review
  • Mental health
  • Natural capital
  • Scotland
  • Social capital
  • Social connectedness


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