General News Rural Sector News — 03 April 2014
Mental health support needs better coordination

The Queensland Mental Health Commissioner is calling for greater service coordination to allow those in drought declared regions access to the help they so desperately need.

“You can feel it in the communities, you can feel the worry of the communities that it is just getting too hard,” says Dr Lesley van Schoubroek.Durum Wheat in Farmer's Hands

While most of the current government assistance is targetted towards easing the financial burden families face during drought, Dr van Schoubroeck says she’s working to ensure funding for mental health actually results in better service delivery.

“The challenge that we seem to find is that the services are there but they’re not really connected as well as they should [be].”

Citing a recent example from a meeting in Charleville, Dr van Schoubroek believes local communities should have a greater say in how mental health funding is spent.

“As one of the women out there said to me, ‘we don’t want a dose of something prescribed by Brisbane’.”

Dr van Schoubroek acknowledges the emotional strain caused by drought isn’t confined to farming families.  She says whole communities, particularly small rural business owners, are under incredible pressure in the current conditions.

This article first appeared on ‘ABC Rural’ on 2 April 2014.

Full audio is available here.

 

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