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Accessibility and quality of mental health services in rural and remote Australia

Senate Community Affairs References Committee report
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Remote health Rural health Mental health Rural and remote communities Health Suicide Australia

On 19 March 2018, the Senate referred the following matter to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report:

The accessibility and quality of mental health services in rural and remote Australia, with specific reference to:

  • the nature and underlying causes of rural and remote Australians accessing mental health services at a much lower rate;
  • the higher rate of suicide in rural and remote Australia;
  • the nature of the mental health workforce;
  • the challenges of delivering mental health services in the regions;
  • attitudes towards mental health services;
  • opportunities that technology presents for improved service delivery; and
  • any other related matters.

This report is presented in six chapters:

  • Chapter 1 provides background and context to the committee's inquiry.
  • Chapter 2 outlines mental health services funding and provision in Australia, the model of practice on which these services are based and commissioned, and examines opportunities to utilise technology in the provision of mental health services.
  • Chapter 3 explains the numerous barriers people in rural and remote areas face when accessing mental health services, including attitudes towards mental health.
  • Chapter 4 considers the role and impact of culturally appropriate services on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  • Chapter 5 outlines the issues facing the mental health workforce and how these issues are intensified in rural and remote communities.
  • Chapter 6 provides the committee's conclusions and recommendations.
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