15 Jun 2015

Rural mental health funding boost well-timed

8:07 am on 15 June 2015

Rural health organisations say new Government funding to support mental health services in rural communities is timely.

The Health and Primary Industries ministries are providing $500,000 to improve the co-ordination of existing outreach services and develop new support programmes for mental health in rural areas.

The Rural General Practice Network said it could not be better timed, as the year has been a tough one for farmers and rural people.

It said they had been battling lower milk prices, weather extremes that included both droughts and floods, job losses and an already high farmer suicide rate in some parts of the country.

Rural Health Alliance chair Dr Jo Scott Jones said she would like to see a rurally-focused mental health service.

"It's about prevention, so I'm sure there will be extra funding for some awareness programmes.

"They talk about intervention as well, so they'll be wanting to have support for some of the treatment programmes that are on the ground.

"They talk about a national approach, as well. Currently, there's work going on across the country from a number of different organisations all trying to address this issue. I think some co-ordination around what's happening where would make a lot of sense."

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