Meeting Primary Mental Health Care Needs of the people who live in the Rural and Remote Areas of Central Australia

Since January 2010, the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Alice Springs Base has provided an outreach primary mental health service. Three Mental Health Nurses comprise this new service which covers the region north east to south east of Alice Springs.

The service works in collaboration with the General Practice Network NT (Alice Springs) and the NT Mental Health Service. Aboriginal Mental Health Workers will work in conjunction with the Service to build mental health literacy amongst the Indigenous population.Federal Government funding was granted to set up this service to provide greater access to Mental Health Care for people in rural and remote Australia.

Like their city counterparts, people who live in rural and remote communities experience mental illness at the rate of one in five. However for people in these locations, distance,availability of appropriate services and stigma surrounding mental illness can complicate treatment and management of common mental disorders. This paper explores the issues associated with delivering primary MH Care to those living in the remote Aboriginal Communities and to others living in remote locations for reasons of employment.

Mrs Lynne Henderson – Royal Flying Doctors, Alice Springs, NT

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