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Better rural mental health services: caring for country Australians

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Penny Wright 20 Aug 2013

One in five Australians experience mental ill-health in any year. The consequences of mental ill-health in rural and regional areas are far greater than in urban areas given that access to mental health services is substantially lower.

Over 30% of Australians live in rural areas but they have limited access to essential health services compared to their urban counterparts. The Greens believe that this inequity must be addressed.

That's why we are announcing a $552.6 million investment for rural mental health. The key features of our policy are:

  • Reforming rural mental health across the lifespan by building on the success of the headspace model, by offering grants and tenders to design and test new models of community-based care to cover key life stages.
  • Increasing funding for community-based mental health programs, neighbourhood houses and wellbeing centres.
  • Developing a rural mental health workforce plan.
  • Stepped prevention and recovery residential care.
  • Increasing support for existing mental health services to expand outreach and telepsychiatry services.
  • Increasing training for frontline staff and community members.
  • A national social inclusion campaign to tackle the stigma surrounding mental health.
  • Changing the Centrelink Carer Allowance form.

Our plan recognises the need for innovative, community-based responses to overcome the growing disparity between city and country mental health services.

Read more about the Greens’ plan for rural mental health here.

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