Mental Health - QLD Section

A feasibility study was conducted under the National Mental Health Strategy which confirmed that mental health issues were prevalent in rural and remote communities, there was poor access to specialist mental health services, and the RFDS had a valid role to play in the provision of mental health service.

The study recommended that an RFDS mental health program should include direct service provision, prevention and community development activities, staff training and practitioner support. The program should also develop and expand by seeking appropriate funding opportunities. The RFDS currently runs a range of mental health programs from a number of its Bases in Queensland utilising funds from: Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing; The Council of Australian Governments Mental Health Rural and Remote Measure; the Commonwealth’s Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health; and the Queensland Government including the Department of Communities and the Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs.

Mental health service activities are based on community needs and include clinical service provision, consumer and carer support and community development initiatives. The programs offer assistance on a variety of issues including: education and information, achieving wellbeing and lifestyle, grief and loss, self-esteem, anxiety, depression, stress management, living with a serious illness, personal centred support, community linking and work related issues.

Counselling and wellbeing programs

These programs provide social and emotional counselling services and community capacity building to rural and remote communities served by the RFDS Cairns Base. Many of the services are provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities, as well as supporting rural communities. Activities under the program form part of the RFDS primary health care service, with multiple professional disciplines bringing complementary skills to the range of activities.