Psychology in the Bush, the December special issue of the Australian Journal of Rural Health (AJRH), focuses on the role of psychological services in sustaining good health in rural and remote communities.
As is well known, people who live in rural and remote Australia have a greater prevalence of chronic health conditions and higher rates of smoking, risky drinking and obesity. Coupled with external and uncontrollable pressures such as climate change, variable economic conditions and natural disasters, these can result in poor mental health and wellbeing.
“Promoting better ways to provide timely, accessible and affordable mental health services for people living in rural and remote Australia is a priority for the National Rural Health Alliance (NRHA). In many cases psychologists will be part of these improved services," said Gordon Gregory, CEO of the NRHA.
Ironically, and sadly, it is the holiday period when some of the most serious consequences of poor mental health are felt. With people leaving home for holidays and making changes to well worn routines, they themselves or those they leave behind may experience loneliness and isolation and be more vulnerable to mental illness.
It is therefore appropriate that the December issue of the AJRH focuses on the important role of psychological services in rural and remote areas. Psychologists are skilled at working with a range of behavioural and mental health issues, improving coping strategies and helping build community resilience - all of which are valuable for those who are predisposed to poor mental health.
Psychology in the Bush includes a range of findings about the practice of psychology in rural and remote areas. It lists the key competencies, knowledge, skills and attitudes of rural psychologists as identified through interviews with practitioners in rural settings. It is good to read that the positive bond between therapist and patient needed for successful psychotherapy can be developed through videoconferencing. There is also a set of practice and research recommendations for enabling telepsychology to reach and support a greater number of rural and remote clients by 2020.
Psychological services play an important role in the good mental health of people in rural and remote Australia and the AJRH issue on Psychology in the Bush has valuable new information.
More about AJRH: www.ruralhealth.org.au/arjh
Gordon Gregory (Chief Executive)
02 6285 4660
Tim Kelly (Chairperson)
0438 011 383