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Improving access to mental health services in rural Qld: A visit to Emerald


Railway Station, Emerald. Photo courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland

Railway Station, Emerald. Photo courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland

11 Apr 2014

Queensland Mental Health Commissioner Dr Lesley van Schoubroeck, together with Assoc Prof Mohan Gilhotra, recently visited Emerald to continue discussions about how to improve access to mental health services in rural Queensland.  The visit was hosted by local leader, Dr Ewen McPhee.

Dr van Schoubroeck met with people working in public and private mental health, and in the non-government sector as well as people living with or recovering from a mental illness or drug and alcohol problems.

This visit was an opportunity for local people to focus on what the community working together could do and how they can make better use of their combined abilities and resources.

Some of the key areas of discussion included:

  • Telehealth: how can it be used more effectively?
  • Improving the links between general and mental health
  • Access to drug and alcohol services, and the need for greater emphasis on diversion to services when people are in court facing drug and alcohol related charges.
  • Improvements in capturing data on the level of attempted suicides, as this is thought to be significant
  • Concerns that only small numbers of children and young people are being referred to the Community Mental Health Services of provided by Queensland Health, but there are many in need of these services
  • Plans for the Super Clinic, which are well advanced through the Commonwealth Government
  • An understanding by the groups gathered together that they need to have a better understanding of what one another does, both within the Hospital and Health Service and between government and non-government services.
  • The need for more education and training about mental health for people working in Accident and Emergency
  • The role of local government, who are keen to take a lead role in promoting understanding of mental health and well being, of letting people know where they can go to for help when they are not coping, and reducing stigma and discrimination as well as leading on promotion, prevention and awareness work.

Click here for more information about the work being undertaken in rural and remote mental health.