The RFDS in VIC

Flying Doctor Wellbeing

Flying Doctor Wellbeing is a free mental health and wellbeing service for people in rural and remote Victorian communities.

This service enables people to access sessions with a mental health clinician without needing to leave their local community, with appointments available face-to-face and via telehealth and telephone.

Wellbeing service access

Why this service is so important

A number of factors exacerbate mental health acuity in remote and rural Australia, including poor access to primary and acute care, limited numbers of mental health services and mental health professionals, reluctance to seek help, concerns about stigma, distance and cost and cultural barriers in service access.

In combination, these factors may have a detrimental impact on the mental health of remote and rural Australians, resulting in emergency hospital treatment for a mental disorder, or suicide in the most extreme circumstances.

Ensuring that free, local services are available to all community members is critical in enabling all Victorians to have access to the wellbeing support they need.

Fact >

Rural Australians are 30% more likely to suicide than those in urban areas.

Fact >

Drought prone areas experience higher rates of anxiety, depression and suicide.

Fact >

12.3% of adults in Gippsland are experiencing psychological distress, higher than the Victorian and Australian averages.

Bushfire Recovery Counselling and Support

Free and confidential counselling and support is now available for individuals, families and emergency service workers affected by the bushfires in East Gippsland. To find out more or make an appointment, click here, or call 1800 001 068.

Evaluation research was completed in 2019 on the Flying Doctor Wellbeing service in Far East Gippsland. Please click here to read the summary or findings, and here for the full report.

What to expect from a Flying Doctor Wellbeing session

Flying Doctor mental health clinicians help patients to talk through their concerns, provide expert advice, resources and strategies. If necessary, clinicians will refer patients to more specialised help. 

Building and maintaining strong mental health is just as important as physical health and Flying Doctor Wellbeing is designed to help. The service is available to those aged 18+, who live or work near a service site and who are experiencing:

• worry, sadness, stress or low mood

• relationship or family difficulties

• financial stress

• lack of confidence

• grief or loss

• concern for a family member or friend

Flying Doctor Wellbeing appointments can last up to one hour. At the first appointment, patients will meet their clinician, who may ask lots of questions. While this may be difficult, this ensures our clinicians understand their patient's concerns and tailor future appointments to best support them.

No GP referral is required to access this service. Eligible community members can contact us directly or ask their trusted health professional to put them in touch.

How to make an appointment

To find out more or to make an appointment, contact the Flying Doctor Wellbeing team:

T: (03) 8412 0480

E: wellbeing@rfdsvic.com.au

If you or a loved one is in crisis and needs practical assistance, contact your local 24 hours Mental Health Triage Service:

Gippsland: 1300 363 322

Loddon Campaspe/Southern Mallee: 1300 363 788

Glenelg (South Western): 1800 808 284

Grampians: 1300 661 323

Alternatively contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 for emotional support.

Explore below the Victorian communities that accessed Flying Doctor Wellbeing in the last financial year.

Wellbeing services map