The Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (RFDS) Mental Health Team Update

Update regarding the Southeast Section of the RFDS Mental Health Team – by Glynis Thorp, Project Officer and Credentialed Mental Health Nurse.

Following our attendance and poster presentation at 2016 The International Mental Health Conference we returned to our base at Broken Hill revitalised with ideas about how we can enhance our services that we provide to our clients and potential clients in remote outback locations in New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia.

It was heart wrenching to hear that as a profession worldwide we are not getting positive results from current suicide prevention strategies. It is certainly an area that we are very keen to improve and ensure that we utilising the latest prevention best practice concepts and ideas to make positive changes in our unique footprint in Australia. The conference provides us with an opportunity to spread the latest news to the health professionals in our area by the way of mini presentations to share the knowledge that I have learnt during the conference. Some of the presentations inspired me to run mini sessions for the health staff that had not had the opportunity to attend personally.

We were also aware and we learnt more about how Australia is currently in the midst of the greatest change to the provision of mental health services for many decades. This means changes for us as a service like many other services. Funding systems have changed, the mental health nurse incentives program has changed, primary healthcare networks have involvement and there are many opportunities to expand and restructure the services we provide. It is a time to think outside the box as such and to build on the programs that have been a success. Our ultimate testimony to success is when our community took on the responsibility of a project called “Navigate Your Life” that we had delivered for the previous three years.  It was initially started as we observed that our clientele had a unique issue which had the potential to affect lives significantly as many are in relationships and also in business together on properties. Often there are extended members of the family involved in business decisions. There is the potential for conflict which effects family member’s mental health in a negative way.  These conferences address how we are all different with unique communication styles. They have been so popular they are already planning another in 2017.

Glynis Thorp

Whilst this is all happening our team are continuing to aim to have positive therapeutic relationships with the community members and communities that we visit or service so that we can help our clients make positive changes in their lives. We are proud to offer 1:1 assessment and counselling services, community engagement activities and community building and prevention services to our unique community.  We look forward to the opportunities and challenges we face in 2017.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (RFDS)

The Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (RFDS) is one of the largest and most comprehensive aeromedical organisations in the world. Using the latest in aviation, medical and communications technology, we deliver extensive primary health care and 24-hour emergency service to those who live, work and travel throughout Australia.

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