Rethinking our Rural Mental Health Crisis
There's no doubt Australia is in the middle of a rural mental health crisis, with new analysis from the National Rural Health Alliance showing there are just 2 psychiatrists for every 100,000 people in remote Australia.
Psychologists and mental health nurses are also seriously lacking in numbers, with just 25 psychologists/100,000 people and 29 mental health nurses per 100,000, in very remote areas of our country.
So what can be done to change this and improve mental health support for people in rural Australia?
Mark Diamond, CEO of the National Rural Health Alliance, is calling for Australia to overhaul the way it trains and supports mental health professionals, to boost numbers in our rural and remote areas.
He joined Flow FM on today's Country Viewpoint today to explain the situation and offer possible solutions.
The analysis comes as part of the Alliance’s submission to a Senate Inquiry into The Accessibility and Quality of Mental Health Service in Rural and Remote Australia.
Their submission makes seven recommendations including:
Overhaul the way mental health professionals are trained to both attract and retain them in country areas.
Ensure they have additional generalist skills needed to address the unique needs of rural and remote Australia.
Ensure rural and remote areas receive the same mental health funding per capita as major cities.
Evaluate the effectiveness of current federal and state mental health programs.
Ensure guidelines are used to decide whether or not telehealth services are appropriate.
If you need to speak to someone at anytime, Lifeline is available 24/7 by calling 13 11 14.
To hear more about how we can better support Australia's rural health, join Anita on the Country Viewpoint, weekdays from 1pm on Flow FM.