New partnership to improve mental health in Gulf region

Date published

01 Nov 2019

Australian Agricultural Company (AACo) is partnering with the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) in a new program that will boost mental health in Queensland’s Gulf region, following the devastating floods in early 2019.

Managing Director and CEO Hugh Killen said the families and communities across the region were hit hard and there was a real need for ongoing support.

“AACo had several stations all but washed away in the Gulf floods, but there were others who fared much worse. It was a tough time for everyone,” Mr Killen said.

“Recovering after the floods isn’t just about fixing fences and buildings or replacing livestock. Some people have to pick up their whole lives and start again, and that takes time.

“We’re all part of the same community and we feel a deep compassion for the people there. We’re proud to provide this ongoing support for them.”

Mr Killen said AACo has committed up to $250,000 over three years, which would fund a series of programs and events across the region and reach as many people as possible.

“It includes events such as mini field days and pit stop health checks that put mental health clinicians in direct contact with people in the communities that need the most help, but who may know how to get it” he said.

“The partnership will run for up to three years and be evaluated regularly to make sure it’s making a positive difference.”

Meredith Staib, CEO Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) welcomed the new funding and was excited for the benefits it would bring to the affected regions.

“We know that delivering the best health care to rural and remote Queensland is more than emergency retrieval and involves supporting the overall health of families and communities through primary healthcare including mental health services.

“That is why our field day program and mental health services are so important, and we are grateful for the support from AACo,” Ms Staib said.

Mr Killen said the program would get underway immediately and communities right across the Gulf region would be able to access it.

“We’re excited about this partnership with the RFDS. There is no better organisation to help the people across the Gulf in this way,” Mr Killen said.

“We have a mental health program for our stations and we see the benefits that come from that. We look forward to seeing what this program will bring to the wider community.