Authors: Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health (University of Newcastle), Rural Local Health Districts in NSW , Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Office (NSW Health)
Event: 2011 TheMHS Awards
Type of resource: TheMHS Awards
Award state: NSW
Award level: Finalist
Award category: Regional and/or Remote Services or Programs
Abstract: NSW has experienced the worst drought in 100 years, and the financial impact and subsequent human cost will continue for many years. Rural communities also face major challenges including natural disasters, rural economic downturn and predictions of future drying and warming. Since 2007 the NSW Government funded Drought Mental Health Assistance Program (now RAMHP) has worked across rural NSW to help build individual, service provider and community capacity to cope and recover from drought, rural crises and climate variability. RAMHP is coordinated by the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health (CRRMH) in close collaboration with rural Area Health Services (now Local Health Networks) across NSW. RAMHP’s approach is novel in linking mental health services through partnerships with a very broad range of organisations across agricultural, financial, government and non-government sectors and community groups to engage rural communities through information, education and practical mental health related support. Description of Facility/Organisation: Fully funded by NSW Health, the 2010/2011 budget is $2.3M. Ten (10) workers distributed across NSW rural mental health services are supported by a Coordinator, part-time Academic, Project Officer, Education Officer, Administrative staff and 4 part-time consultant Psychiatrists. Significant contributions are made by: • Industry and Investment NSW • General Practice NSW • NSW Farmers Association • The Black Dog Institute • TAFE NSW Western Institute • Department of Education and Training • Centrelink • Indigenous Medical Services • Country Women’s Association • NSW Catchment Management Authority • beyondblue • Indigenous Mental Health Services • Livestock Health and Pest Authority From 2007 to date, RAMHP has participated in 470+ community events; led or supported 40 local service networks; delivered 218 Mental Health First Aid courses (3,500+ participants); conducted 15 consultative forums to identify the mental health impact of drought; conducted approx. 340 media interviews; delivered 12 Conference seminars and written 6 Journal articles (1 published and 5 in progress).