I will work to –
•Improve current policy, services, access to services and treatment for those returned service men and women suffering from PTSD and other service related injuries – focussing on grassroots and team treatment programs.
• Increase availability of treatment options for depression, anxiety and suicide prevention, these issues are effecting our farmers and their families, and those impacted by our new foreign trade arrangements, and the rural communities effected by CSG extraction and coal mining.
- Australians living outside urban areas are currently missing out on life-saving mental health services.
- Greens spokesperson for Mental Health, Senator Penny Wright, travelled through rural, regional and remote Australia during 2012 and 2013 to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of the rural mental health system. Read her report.
- We have listened carefully to the voices and experiences of people living in country Australia and know that many people face similar challenges in getting the mental health care and help they need in rural areas.
- Based on what we heard, we have developed a strong plan to move away from crisis-driven services to boost community-based services which offer prevention, early intervention and ongoing support.
- We’ve based our rural mental health policy around what we learned and heard from those who know rural mental health best: consumers, carers and people working on the frontline.
- Our 8-point rural mental health plan is comprehensive, fully costed and designed to ensure more country Australians will receive the mental health care they need – when they need it. It is complemented by our $574.4 million quality mental health care plan.
RURAL MENTAL HEALTH ACROSS THE LIFESPAN
Our plan includes funding to reform rural mental health across the lifespan by funding flexible, multi-disciplinary and community-based care in local communities.
Country Australians face unique challenges affecting their mental health: drought and other natural disasters, the threat of climate change, isolation, rural unemployment and poor access to health services.
We will invest $55 million a year to build on the success of the Headspace model, offering grants and tenders to design and test new models of community-based care to cover key life stages.
During our tour of rural Australia, we saw firsthand the value of community houses and neighbourhood centres.
These are places where people can share meals, socialise, participate in recreational activities, learn new skills, access general and mental health advice and “belong”.
Our plan includes an investment of $20 million a year for more resources for community-based mental health programs, including community centres and neighbourhood houses.
Evidence shows community-based programs assist with social inclusion and community wellbeing while also providing a connecting point for a range of services, including those related to mental health.
ADDRESSING WORKFORCE CHALLENGES
Rural, regional and remote mental health service providers across Australia told us about the challenges they face in recruiting and retaining highly qualified, experienced staff.
We heard that the current rural mental health workforce is under-staffed, under-resourced and under-trained.
We also heard there is a need for a diverse rural mental health workforce including more peer workers, and more workers from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and other cultural backgrounds.
That’s why we will invest $35 million per year to develop a rural mental health workforce plan, including incentives and pathways to rural practice and greater investment in education, research and training to grow a strong and effective rural mental health workforce.