Investment in rural mental health services welcome

29 June 2016

The National Rural Health Alliance has warmly welcomed the announcement that a re-elected Coalition Government would make significant new investment in mental health, focussing initiatives on improving the lives of rural and remote Australians.

The CEO of the National Rural Health Alliance, Kim Webber, said “The Coalition’s Policy to Strengthen Mental Health Care in Australia has a much needed focus on improving the availability of services in rural and remote communities. 

“I am particularly pleased to see that a number of the identified Mental Health Lead Sites cover rural and remote Australia.  This is extremely important as these lead sites will inform how reforms are rolled out more broadly across rural and remote communities,” she said.  Further the commitment to increase services to support more young people with mental illness in rural and remote areas is to be applauded given the high needs amongst this population.

“We know that currently many rural and remote towns have few, if any, specialised mental health services.  The number of psychiatrists and psychologists in rural and remote areas is, respectively, one third and one half what it is in major cities, with even poorer comparisons in remote areas.  

“People living in rural and remote Australia are twice as likely to take their own life through suicide.  As such, I commend the Coalition Policy on its focus on suicide prevention particularly in prioritising efforts to prevent suicide in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“We also welcome the additional investment to support digital technologies which must work to connect people in rural and remote Australia with much needed mental health services and support that may not be available in their local community.

“The National Rural Health Alliance will do all we can to support these initiatives to improve access to mental health services.  This type of investment will save lives in rural and remote Australia.”

Media Enquiries: 

Kim Webber, CEO

0401 006 170