This report summarises insights from research undertaken to include the ‘hidden voices’ of people living in rural Australia that experience mental ill-health. It follows from a Phase 1 report that reviewed literature, policy and interviewed key stakeholders – with the goal of analysing current rural mental health need, services and service accessibility. The goal of that report was to highlight activities that could be done by a philanthropic organisation and that were not the remit of government

The role of this Phase 2 report is to start to examine the potential of existing, ‘hidden’ datasets that exist, and that could explain the experiences of those with mental ill-health in rural areas. People with mental health challenges are known to be reticent to come forward; and those living in rural areas can be additionally left out of consultations due to distance from cities and challenges of travel. Insights were garnered through working in partnership with SANE, Beyond Blue, and the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Using rigorous ethical and governance processes, de-identified datasets containing ‘hidden voices’ material were obtained and analysed for themes about experiences of those experiencing mental ill-health, particularly in relation to services.

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