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Government to provide more mental health funding for rural and remote Australia


Paul Hayes


6/06/2018 11:10:32 AM

The Federal Government has said it will provide funding in order to support the mental health of farmers, miners and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in rural and remote areas.

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Bridget McKenzie and Greg Hunt want the new funding to help ‘deliver a range of mental health support programs, including suicide-prevention measures’. (Images: Darren England, Mick Tsikas)

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt and Federal Rural Health Bridget McKenzie this week announced that two separate counselling organisations – Aussie Helpers and Rural and Remote Mental Health – would each receive $1 million in funding to help support the mental health of people living outside of the city.
 
Issues of mental health have been found to be particularly prevalent in rural Australia. The number of suicides per 100,000 people in rural and remote Australia was 50% higher than in the metropolitan areas in 2016, with those rates increasing as areas become more remote. Suicide among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is double that of non-Indigenous Australians.
 
The Federal Government’s $2 million funding announcement is designed to help Aussie Helpers and Rural and Remote Mental Health deliver a range of mental health support programs, including suicide-prevention measures.
 
The Government said the funding will enable Aussie Helpers to provide more support through services such as the ‘Virtual Psychologist’, which it describes as an ‘example of an organisation utilising modern technology to overcome long distances’.
 
Virtual Psychologist provides a 24-hour SMS and phone counselling service for rural and remote communities, as well as advice and referral service for local healthcare professionals.
 
Rural and Remote Mental Health, which provides support tailored for the agricultural and mining sectors, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, also has an online presence and 24-hour telephone support service.



Bridget-McKenzie Greg-Hunt rural-mental-health rural-suicide





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