Mental health in rural and remote Australia – ‘Think about rural health when you vote’

27 May 2016

One in five people experience mental illness in any one year.

People in rural and remote Australia are just as likely to experience mental illness as their city cousins.

In major cities, people with mental illness can, and do, access a raft of services to assist with the diagnosis, management and treatment of mental illness. They receive primary care from their GP and specialised mental health care from psychiatrists, psychologists, and mental health nurses. On average they receive 40% more mental health services than their rural and remote counterparts.

In rural and remote Australia access to mental health services is substantially limited with many rural and remote towns having no access to specialised mental health services and relying on limited GP services. There is a $112 million deficit in Medicare funded mental health services in rural and remote Australia.

Timely diagnosis, treatment and management of mental illness in rural and remote Australia is less likely to occur, if at all. This sometimes leads to the most tragic of outcomes – suicide.

Tragically rates of self harm and suicide increase with remoteness. Those in rural and remote Australia are twice as likely to take their own life through suicide as those in major cities.

Kim Webber, CEO of the National Rural Health Alliance says “This doesn’t add up. People in rural and remote Australia do not have access to the mental health services that they need. There is a significant funding disparity that needs to be addressed to ensure the wellbeing of all Australians”

The National Rural Health Alliance encourages all voters to find out what the major parties and local candidates are saying and doing to improve mental health in rural and remote Australia before they cast their vote.


Media Enquiries: 

Media Enquiries:
Kim Webber, CEO 0401 006 170

In an emergency, call Emergency Services on 000.
Need to talk to someone? Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 224 636