Rural mental health workers seek to improve outcomes

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APPROPRIATELY, the collective noun for a group of psychologists is a complex, which perhaps explains the outcomes for a recent meeting of mental health researchers and service providers in Orange, NSW.

Director of the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health (CRRMH), Professor David Perkins said there was good evidence that rural mental health was not improving, and that single, short-term, disjointed investments were unlikely to make a long-term difference.

“We need to think about solutions in relation to the problems. What are we doing about the prevention and early intervention, how can we involve community members, how can we ensure the use of best evidence and new approaches to data as well as shared and effective leadership,” said Professor Perkins.

The ‘Orange Declaration’ identifies ten clear solutions to known problems and is the result of collaboration and contribution from a wide group of interested parties with the final declaration being published in ‘The Australian Journal of Rural Health’.

While the declaration seeks to provide solutions to how the complex of psychologists and service providers work and engage with the rural community, the core to the underlying problem of why rural mental health has become an issue, is more to do with rural people facing distinctive challenges including environmental, economic, social, technical, demographic and geographical, that are not being addressed.