Abitibi is a region of Nort-Western Quebec State which has undergone very recent settlement. The first wave of settlement was at the beginning of the century in agriculture. The second wave occurred some fifty years later, due to the discovery of gold deposits. Since this second phase, a new population has developed with a specific mentality. Some towns barely fifty years old and the communities which comprise them present very specific characteristics at an anthropological level precisely circumscribed as they are in time and space. The geographical features are indeed also typical, identical to those of an island. The mental functioning of different subjects in the community will be detailed, together with those of the gold prospector, the gambler, the trapper and the builder. The reasons for their migratory moves will be clarified by the recent history of Quebec. A certain all or nothing functioning can be observed, which cannot but prompt us clinicians to make anthropological hypotheses as to the expression of affective disorders. Indeed, this region is remarkable for one of the highest suicide rates of Canada. In everyday psychiatric practice, the incidence and prevalence of affective disorders there are conspicuous. There are thus good grounds for formulating an anthropological hypothesis which will take into account the mode of development of this region of Abitibi, of a rather general way of thinking in the population and of a rather singular expression of illness. The relationships between a land of welcome, a recent gold rush, euphoria, depression and suicide will be discussed, together with speculation as to their causality.
|Translated title of the contribution||Gold prospectors, trappers and cultural bases of affective disorders|
|Number of pages||4|
|Publication status||Published - 1991|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health