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The ongoing drought in Australia is affecting the mental health of farming families and rural communities.
The Australian Government has responded to the needs of these communities by creating the Mental Health Support for Drought Affected Communities
Initiative, which provides funding of $10.1 Million over two years (2007-2009) for three key activities:
- Provision of community outreach and crisis counselling;
- Raising community awareness; and
- Education and training for health workers.
Funding is being provided to 43 divisions of general practice across Australia to employ a community support worker to provide community outreach and crisis counselling for distressed individuals, families and communities in drought affected rural and remote areas.
The Mental Health Support for Drought Affected Communities
Initiative aims to build the capacity of rural and remote drought affected communities to respond to the psychological impacts of drought.
Forty-three divisions of general practice received funding under the Mental Health Support for Drought Affected Communities
Initiative, as they were declared in ‘exceptional circumstances’ as at the date of the government’s commitment to the Initiative.
The Queensland divisions who received funding are listed below:
- Capricornia Division of General Practice
- Central Queensland Rural Division of General Practice
- GP Connections
- Mackay Healthcare Connect
- North West Queensland Primary Health Care
- Sunshine Coast Division of General Practice
- GP Links Wide Bay
The Initiative places Community Support Workers (CSWs) within each funded division of general practice to provide community outreach and crisis counselling for distressed individuals, families and communities in drought affected rural areas, and education and training for health workers and community leaders to respond to the early warnings of emotional distress. It aims to increase the capacity of communities to respond to drought-related psychological trauma. Each division of general practice is required to develop and submit a local action plan for their drought-affected area, articulating their activity over the two-year life of the Initiative.
Each of the eight Queensland divisions of general practice involved in the Initiative have had their action plans approved by the Australian Government and are well underway in delivering local services to their local communities.
For more detailed information about these local action plans, please contact the relevant division:
Please contact: Lindy Fentiman, Team Leader - Programs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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