Monday, September 27, 2010

New Service for Health Care Professionals provides access and advice for health care professionals on a range of technologies and online resources that can be used to enhance the effectiveness of psychosocial support and mental health care provided to young people.


You can:
  • Gain quick access to resources and information for young people
  • Learn about new technologies and what they mean to young people
  • Find answers to questions like "what is social networking?" and "why is it so important for me to know?"
  • Get instructions based on clinician experience on how to incorporate technology into clinical practice
  • Get advice on how to make clinical practice more efficient using technology
  • Access new research and websites that can be useful in your practice
More information is available here

Monday, September 6, 2010

Promoting mental health - are we focussing on the most needy sector of our rural communities?

A study that investigated the relationship between levels of mental health and well-being (in terms of self-reported levels of distress) with employment and occupational status of rural residents was undertaken as a component of the Australian Rural Mental Health Study and reported. Psychological distress was measured using Kessler-10, with an additional item addressing functional impairment (days out of role).

The highest levels of distress and functional impairment were reported by those permanently unable to work and the unemployed group with rates of ‘caseness’ (likely mental health disorder) varying from 57% to 69%,compared with 34% of farmers and farm managers and 29% of health workers. This paper will present the findings of the study and discuss the policy implications of this study in relation to;
(1) impact of drought and climate change on rural restructuring and employment;
(2) key target populations in rural communities for mental health promotion, and (3) ensuring access to mental health services and support for the unemployed sector in rural communities.

A Prof Lyn Fragar - Ass Prof Australian Centre for Agricultural Health & Safety, Moree, NSW

Meeting Primary Mental Health Care Needs of the people who live in the Rural and Remote Areas of Central Australia

Since January 2010, the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Alice Springs Base has provided an outreach primary mental health service. Three Mental Health Nurses comprise this new service which covers the region north east to south east of Alice Springs.

The service works in collaboration with the General Practice Network NT (Alice Springs) and the NT Mental Health Service. Aboriginal Mental Health Workers will work in conjunction with the Service to build mental health literacy amongst the Indigenous population.Federal Government funding was granted to set up this service to provide greater access to Mental Health Care for people in rural and remote Australia.

Like their city counterparts, people who live in rural and remote communities experience mental illness at the rate of one in five. However for people in these locations, distance,availability of appropriate services and stigma surrounding mental illness can complicate treatment and management of common mental disorders. This paper explores the issues associated with delivering primary MH Care to those living in the remote Aboriginal Communities and to others living in remote locations for reasons of employment.

Mrs Lynne Henderson - Royal Flying Doctors, Alice Springs, NT

Community resilience following natural disasters

In March 2010, rural and remote Queensland experienced major flooding from Springsure, west of Gladstone in Central Queensland, west to Bedourie and south along the NSW border which equates to an area the size of Victoria.

Charleville was inundated by two major floods within a week and 140 residents were relocated to an evacuation centre at the showgrounds, appoximately 200 homes were flood affected in Roma. The town of St George experienced a once in a century flood resulting in the relocation of 30 aged care residents and 8 hospital patients to Brisbane.

In the face of adversity, many smaller communities and primary producers suffered stock and crop losses and were isolated. However resilience was displayed through true community spirit by volunteering to restore services, making contact and engagement with the neighbours, contending with post disaster issues such as insurance, health and personal needs.Community resilience following natural disasters in rural and remote areas can be addressed by the adaption of the basic concepts of emergency management such as prevention, preparedness, response and recovery strategies.

These principles need to be linked by the adaption of basic disaster connectedness strategies to reduce distress and provide basic needs. To improve resilience, the connection with social supports for the establishment of brief or ongoing contacts with primary support persons or other sources is necessary for the continuum of care. The well established local networks such as, primary producer groups, churches, schools and service groups highlight the community spirit with primary interventions.

Meanwhile collaborative services from local, state, federal and non-government agencies do assist with ongoing recovery strategies.

The continuum of care process and supportive strategies will in time reduce the human – social impact and strengthen the resilience and mental health of communities that have faced adversity.

Mr Greg Eustace - Principal Advisor Emergency Management, Mental Health Directorate, Qld Health, QLD