Connecting the dots for rural resilience

The Rural Adversity Mental Health program aims to link rural people with the help they need, be it financial or personal counselling, social workers, nurses and other allied health professionals, to improve the quality of life in the bush. The Australian Farmer talks to RAMH mental health coordinator Dianne Gill about education, reducing stigma, asking someone if they are having a tough time and getting help.

Read the full interview

When a doctor says “I am depressed”

Clinical Professor Leanne Rowe – a GP and past Chairman of the RACGP – shares her thoughts on helping colleagues deal with their own mental health.

Read the full article on Insight Plus

Course: Dealing with Depression in Rural Australia

Presented by Black Dog Institute, this highly interactive multidisciplinary program has been developed specifically to address the needs of clinicians delivering health care for people presenting with depression in a rural setting. Using a case-based problem solving format, the program outlines a practical framework for assessment and management planning readily applicable to primary care.

Suitable for General Practitioners, GP Registrars, Psychologists, Mental Health Clinicians and Allied Health Professionals.

Date: Saturday 9 March, 2019
Location: Ballina, NSW

Cost: $50 (reduced from $360 as generously subsidised by EISS)

More about this event

Healthdirect Australia is offering its WebRTC-based Video Call service at no charge to GPs

Healthdirect Australia is offering its WebRTC-based Video Call service at no charge to GPs who wish to access new telehealth MBS items to support the mental health of their patients in drought-affected communities.

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Bush Support Service on the road

CRANAplus Bush Support Services on the road

With funding from the Australian Government, CRANAplus psychologists will be visiting rural NSW to promote best practice ways of managing stress. They will also provide health professionals with strategies to have difficult conversations with patients and clients around suicide risk and appropriate referral to psychological services.

The social and emotional impact of the severe drought in NSW is far-reaching and affects everyone in rural and remote communities. Health, allied health and other community workers, as the cornerstone of community support, are experiencing an increased demand in complex workload. It is important that the mental health of these workers be a focus of intervention.

Free ‘mini’ workshops will be held between February and May 2019 in Nowra, Albury, Mildura, Lithgow, Muswellbrook, Cooma, Inverell, Cobar, Wagga Wagga, Hay, Walgett, Tamworth, Bega, Griffith, Wilcannia, Bourke, Forbes, Armidale, Moruya, Narrandera, Broken Hill, Orange, Dubbo, Yass, and Moree.

Download the flyer

Grant funding for communities hit by drought

WNSW PHN is offering funding to assist communities in the region which have been affected by drought. Under the Australian Government’s Empowering our Communities Program, WNSW PHN is offering small grants to support wellbeing initiatives, upskill workers in the delivery of mental health services and provide information and training to community leaders and members. Community organisations (including sporting clubs and local governments) can apply for grants within the range of $5,000 to $50,000. To be eligible they must be based in the WNSW PHN region.

Round 1 for Western NSW PHN Community, Wellbeing and Drought Relief grant applications will close at 5pm (AEDT) Friday 1 February 2019.

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Reschedule, reprioritise, recharge and review

“After a busy, challenging year, it can sometimes be hard to switch off our overstimulated minds and enjoy a well-earned rest over the festive season while catching up on our family and personal responsibilities.

As is the case with many professional roles and leadership positions, a GP career has never been more complex and challenging, and it’s important we are proactive in managing the inevitable stress that comes with our vocation.”

GP and author Dr Leanne Rowe discusses her four-step approach to managing stress ahead of this festive season.

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Workshop and toolkit helping communities beat the drought

A workshop at West Tamworth League Club will give people practical tools to help those dealing with communities in drought and Lifeline Australia has developed a Drought Toolkit that is a guide with practical strategies to help people get through the drought.

Learn more

New drought coordinator Jock Laurie says NSW farmers will get the support they need during the big dry

The newly-appointed New South Wales drought coordinator says he is determined to ensure no one is left behind in the rollout of the State Government’s billion-dollar response to the drought.

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Inside a town dealing with the drought: How this rural NSW community is struggling

As NSW continues to live through one of the worst droughts in 100 years, the effects are being felt beyond the farmer’s gate. With primary producers buying nothing more than the necessities, it’s the towns in rural areas that are feeling the pinch.

As long as the rain doesn’t fall, the money doesn’t flow. And the drought-stricken town of Quirindi is still struggling, despite some recent downfalls.

Watch the story on news.com.au

Get Talkin’ Tour

One in five Australians will experience a mental health condition in any given year and there are greater challenges for those living in regional and remote areas.

That is why batyr is bringing the Get Talkin’ Tour to Orange, Cowra, Dubbo and Walgett.

The tour aims to provide communities with the tools and skills to look out for their own wellbeing. There will be a free barbecue and a game of footy with the Waratahs.

Learn more

Telehealth in drought affected areas now covered by Medicare rebates

For the first time, rural GPs in drought-affected areas will be able to bill Medicare for mental health consultations by phone.

Read full story from RACGP

Mental health drought relief telehealth initiative

New Medicare Benefits Schedule items introduced on 1 November 2018 enable eligible GPs and non-specialist medical practitioners to provide general mental health and well-being support services by video conference to patients in drought-affected areas.

Get more information

Rural youth mental health outreach program launched to support rural western NSW

Mental health challenges in rural areas of Australia are particularly concerning, with statistics showing that one in four young people experience mental health concerns over a 12 month period.

To help tackle this significant issue, the Benevolent Society has partnered with Bila Muuji Aboriginal Corporation Health Service – an organisation that provides Primary Health Care representation to the Aboriginal Medical Services across the Western and Far West of NSW – to offer the Rural Youth Mental Health (RYMH) service.

Read the full story

Get your “Glove Box Guide to Mental Health”

The 2018 Glove Box Guide to Mental Health, released by The Land in partnership with the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP), is a 64 page resource which includes personal stories, advice, support and contact information to help improve the mental health and wellbeing of rural communities.

Download your copy today

Proud Country on ABC Four Corners

Quirindi GP, Dr Luqman Nasar, was interviewed by the ABC’s Four Corners as part of a report into the devastating impact the NSW drought is having on rural communities.

Watch video

Nyngan’s two green chairs bring relief from drought

In Nyngan Rural Agencies two chairs plastic green chairs aren’t just a resting place to wait for supplies, they have become a spot where farmers can travel up to hundreds of kilometres to discuss politics, sport and the weather to take their mind off drought.

Read in The Land

Psychiatry support for NSW GP practices

GPs across most of drought-hit NSW are being offered unlimited free access to a psychiatry support line aimed at keeping distressed patients in primary care.

Read Medical Republic article

Lifeline Drought Tool Kit being released

Lifeline Drought Tool Kit being released. To help people cope with the drought, the Lifeline Drought Tool Kit, a hands-on guide with practical advice, has been prepared.The eight-page guide features 10 main points including how to access financial counselling and deal with isolation and has advice on stress management and family and mental health.

Read Western Advocate article

Dudley Private Hospital waiving fees for farmers

Dudley Private Hospital (Orange NSW) will waive hospital excess fee and co-payments for farmers as part of a campaign to aid drought relief.

Read Western Magazine article

Government to announce 20 new counsellors who will help farmers fight depression and anxiety

A “FLYING squad” of mental health workers will visit drought-stricken farming families across the state under a $6.3 million initiative to tackle depression and anxiety.

Read Daily Telegraph article

NSW government funding to provide three new ‘farm gate’ mental health support workers

NSW government funding to provide three new ‘farm gate’ mental health support workers. Additional mental health worker placements in Hunter New England.

Read Newcastle Herald article

Amid drought’s terrible toll, we do not walk alone

I’m sure I speak for many GPs who are looking out the window at empty dusty paddocks, dying trees and sad stock. Every afternoon hungry kangaroos hop through our carpark to graze on the few green sprouts in the practice garden.

Read Medical Republic article

How can GPs best help people in Australia’s drought-affected regions?

Rural and remote GPs in NSW and Queensland are finding novel ways of reaching people badly affected by the record-breaking drought.

Read RACGP article

NSW Health warns of Q fever risk as drought grips state

NSW Health is urging people in regional and rural NSW, particularly parents, to take extra precautions against Q fever as drought and windy conditions may raise the risk of the disease in these areas.

Read article on NSW Health website

$6.3m to help drought-stricken farmers suffering mental health issues

As farmers continue to battle what some have described as the worst drought in living memory, the New South Wales Government has today announced a funding boost for mental health services.

Read article on ABC website

Drought mental health support now to include telehealth consults with local rural doctors

Rural GPs will be able to access Medicare rebates for mental-health phone consults for the first time, to ease distress in drought-hit farming communities.

Read article

NSW drought: Lifeline and CWA team up to help farmers

Lifeline Central West has teamed up with the Country Women’s Association (CWA) for a roadshow of 12 free workshops called Moving Forward Together to target those in need where they need it most.

Read article from Grenfell Record

Why we need to plan for the health impacts of drought

Chair of RACGP Rural Dr Ayman Shenouda discusses steps GPs can take to plan for long-term health issues likely to arise from the drought gripping parts of Australia.

Read RACGP article