There’s a timely warning for regional Queensland from the Royal Flying Doctor Service-Mental health in rural and remote areas is in crisis.
Chief executive Martin Laverty says that while the service provided mental health counselling to 24,500 people last year, country Australians see mental health professionals at only a fifth the rate of those who live in the city.
“If that’s not a crisis, I don’t know what a crisis is. We could double or triple that service tomorrow and still not touch the surface.”
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says the Federal Government is heeding the calls.
He acknowledges that there is a “very significant challenge” with mental health in the regions.
The Minister says Government was working to provide additional services in the area such as rural Headspace, telehealth and online services.
“Because no matter where you are, in the middle of the night, if it’s 3am and there is a dark, dark moment, you need to be able to speak to somebody.”
Efforts are also being made to create a program of incentives to encourage more medical workers to move to the bush.