A long-term investment plan is needed to overcome the ongoing shortfall in access to mental health services in rural and remote Australia, David Butt, CEO of the National Rural Health Alliance, said.
People living in remote and very remote communities in Australia access only a small portion of the mental health services available to their city cousins according to a new report from the Royal Flying Doctors Service Mental Health in Remote and Rural Communities.
This is despite experiencing mental health disorders at the same rate as people in the cities.
The RFDS has examined the data it collects on aeromedical retrievals for emergency mental health care to determine the barriers to better mental health in the bush and how these can be overcome.
In responding to the findings, David Butt noted that “Sadly, this is not new, but rather a further confirmation of the divide between the city and the bush.
“While I recognise the progress that is being made by governments and service providers, we have to commit to finding ways to address these critical barriers to effective prevention, early intervention, diagnosis and management in the bush.
“Anyone can experience a mental health issue. Building strong, resilient families and communities, and improving access to help from professionals, will help more people on the pathway to recovery and to leading contributing lives.
“I congratulate the RFDS on this report and contributing to the growing voices calling for better access to mental health services in rural and remote communities” said Mr Butt.
“The Alliance stands ready to work with the sector and governments to address the gaps and turn around the poor outcomes in the bush”.
This piece was first seen on ‘ The Border Chronicle’ June 6.