Peace of mind for ru­ral Qld

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS -

HELP IS on the way for the many peo­ple suf­fer­ing in si­lence with men­tal health con­di­tions.

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment has an­nounced an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the poor ac­cess to men­tal health ser­vices in re­gional and re­mote Aus­tralia.

Ru­ral Doc­tors As­so­ci­a­tion of Aus­tralia pres­i­dent Dr Adam Coltzau wel­comed the “timely” Se­nate in­quiry.

“There is a crit­i­cal need to im­prove ac­cess to men­tal health­care in ru­ral Aus­tralia,” Dr Coltzau said.

“Many ru­ral pa­tients find it hard to ac­cess men­tal health help when they need it – and of­ten this comes down to the short­age of psy­chol­o­gists and other men­tal health pro­fes­sion­als in the bush.

“It’s also im­por­tant to recog­nise that it is of­ten only through a con­sul­ta­tion for a phys­i­cal health con­cern that a ru­ral doc­tor will un­cover a pa­tient’s men­tal health needs.”

Dr Coltzau ad­mit­ted in­creas­ing the avail­abil­ity of men­tal health ser­vices was only half the bat­tle.

In or­der to prop­erly ad­dress the is­sue, com­mu­nity at­ti­tudes – es­pe­cially among blokes – to seek­ing pro­fes­sional help needs to change.

“I tell my pa­tients they should treat it the same as any other med­i­cal con­di­tion,” he said.

“If you had a heart at­tack, di­a­betes or a stroke you would get help.

“This is no dif­fer­ent.”

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