Good mental health is important for everyone and while people living in country Australia are often characterised as being naturally resilient, like everyone they can experience tough times. Accessing mental health services in rural and remote areas can be very difficult, with people living in these areas being even more isolated in times of need.
In 2017/18 RFDS held 13,488 mental health consultations around the country.
Through funding provided by governments and donors, the RFDS works to bridge the gap in access to mental health services. RFDS provides a range of mental health services range from visiting mental health clinics, 24 hour telehealth services, through to emergency air transfers of people requiring city based acute care. Dedicated RFDS mental health professionals visit remote towns and properties to provide further treatment, support, as well as education about mental health issues for individuals and communities.
Graphic: Mental Health research paper
RFDS Research: Mental Health in Rural and Remote Communities
In early 2017 the Royal Flying Doctor Service released the research paper "Mental Health in Rural and Remote Communities".
This research reveals remote Australians die on average from suicide at twice the rate of city people, yet are only able to access mental health services at a fifth of the rate of city people. It also identifies farmers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identifies people as among the most at risk of suicide.
The research shows there is no difference in common mental health risk factors of family history, stressful events, substance use, and health problems between city and bush, country residents risk exacerbated mental illness because of insufficient early intervention and prevention services.
You can read the full research paper here.
RFDS CEO Martin Laverty said "One in five Australians experience a mental disorder each year. In remote and rural Australia, that means 960,000 each year deal with their mental health. Yet country people can't access the same services as people in the city."
"There's no difference in prevalence of mental illness between city and bush. Yet Flying Doctor research reveals dramatic differences in how sick people become. Poor service access, distance, cost, and continued reluctance to seek help all contribute to higher mental illness acuity."
QLD Mental Health and Wellbeing Services
The RFDS is continuing to develop its mental health and wellbeing services to assist in addressing the health needs of those in rural and remote areas.Read more
Mental Health in NSW/ACT
Our mental health team provides direct clinical services to people living in remote communities to improve their overall health and wellbeing.Read more
Mental Health in Victoria
The Flying Doctor provides free access to mental health and wellbeing services in several areas across Victoria. This is a confidential support service that helps you connect to mental health professionals to help you through tough times.Read more
A Mental Health Outreach Program that enables clinicians to make regular visits to remote communities in Central Australia. Our team of Mental Health Clinicians conduct regular mental health consultations in communities surrounding Alice Springs and beyond in Central Australia.Read more