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Mental Health Services for Regional, Rural & Remote Areas

Estimates & Committees
Penny Wright 20 Feb 2012

Community Affairs Committee
Wednesday 15 February 2012

Senator WRIGHT: I will identify one group that I did mention that I have not had an answer on and that I am interested in, in particular. Is there any particular service or targeting of people in regional, rural and remote areas, as opposed to the general idea of ATAPS being more able to access people there?

Ms Halton: The short answer is yes.

Senator WRIGHT: And what would that be?

Ms Huxtable: One of the important programs in that regard is the work that is happening around e-mental health. There is funding made available in the mental health reform package to do a number of things in the e-mental health space, including establishing a virtual clinic, but also better pathways for people to access services and information online. The evidence certainly is that that e-mental health can be very effective in supporting people with certain conditions. I am sure the officers can add more but that is one that I would certainly point to. other is to talk about headspace and the work that has occurred with headspace to expand its reach into rural and regional areas for young people.

Senator WRIGHT: I am aware of headspace and e-mental health. Are there any other ones?

Ms Nicholls: The other one I would mention is the ATAPS program and of course the Mental Health Services in Rural and Remote Areas Program, which is specifically targeting rural and remote areas. It is funding for mental health professionals in communities that would otherwise have little or no access to MBS. Thirty organisations are funded and they are delivering 39 projects in more than 200 locations in all states and territories other than the ACT. In 2010-11, over 17,000 clients accessed services through that program. There is $32 million provided over 2011-12 and 2012-13.

Senator WRIGHT: Could I ask you to take on notice—I will not hold you up now—to identify those 30 organisations and what they do.

Ms Nicholls: Yes.


In the Supplementary Budget Estimates week, Penny Wright asked the Department of Health and Aging questions relating to the following mental health issues. Click on the links below to read the transcripts.

10 Year Roadmap for Mental Health Reform

Better Access

Targeted Mental Health Service Delivery

High Risk Groups

Mental Health Services for Regional, Rural and Remote Areas


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