Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium

9th Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium

We warmly welcome you to Albury, NSW from Wednesday 11 – Friday 13 October 2017 for the 9th Australian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium. This year our theme will be Impacts & Outcomes, Putting People First. The symposium is designed for consumers, carers, clinicians, managers and all those working in rural mental health.  It is applicable to those from Primary Health Networks, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health, non-government organisations, government health services and private providers. It is a great conference to establish and develop links across these service types and work together to advance rural mental health.

The National Mental Health Commission, in its review, recognised the importance of rural mental health with 6.9 million (29%) Australians living in remote, rural and regional communities. The number of Australians experiencing mental health problems in rural and remote areas is comparable to that in Sydney and Melbourne combined. However, rural and remote communities face challenges with limited access to support services, and high suicide rates.

Anxiety, depression, stress, grief and other mental health problems can often occur with many rural communities being affected by environmental threats and economic downturn. In recent years we have endured severe drought, flooding, bushfires and cyclones, which puts stress on rural and regional farming and business communities.

Thanks to the work of this Symposium, its delegates, and the National Alliance for Rural and Remote Mental Health the profile and the importance of rural mental health is receiving more recognition than ever. The anticipated establishment of a Rural Health Commissioner offers further opportunities to influence and improve the mental health of rural communities.

With the launch of the 5th National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, the Equally Well National Consensus Statement on the physical health of people living with mental illness, and the roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the Symposium presents and invaluable opportunity to learn, network and collaborate as we seek to understand and apply these initiatives into rural mental health practice.

This year we will examine new and innovative approaches to care, recovery oriented practice, ageing communities, meaningful consumer and carer participation, current academic research, service integration, capacity-building, suicide prevention, physical health and mental illness, E-mental health and working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social and emotional wellbeing.

The symposium will include keynote speakers, concurrent sessions and workshops that develop skills related specifically to the mental health needs of our rural and remote communities, and ways to effectively prepare mental health and other rural human service professionals to meet future challenges.

The symposium last year was our best ever: high quality presentations and great comradery. The symposium has developed in the premier rural mental health meeting in Australia. This year’s two day symposium will be held at the Commercial Club, Albury, with  optional half day of workshops on Wednesday 11 October. On behalf of the organising committee we invite you to join with us and be part of this great event in Albury, NSW.

Associate Prof Russell Roberts
Charles Sturt University
Symposium Chair.

Symposium Topics

  • Structural Reform
  • Harnessing Digital Information
  • Looking after the rural mental health workforce
  • Integrated Care, physical and mental health
  • Innovative Practices
  • Indigenous Mental Health
  • Child and Youth Mental Health

Featured Speakers

Confirmed Speakers

  • Mr Frank Quinlan, CEO, Mental Health Australia
  • Dr Peggy Brown, CEO, National Mental Health Commission
  • Professor James Bennett-Levy, Professor of Mental Health and Psychological Wellbeing, University Centre for Rural Health (North Coast), University of Sydney
  • Professor Mark Dadds, Professor of Clinical Psychology, The University of Sydney & Principal Research Fellow of the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia
  • Ms Georgie Harman, CEO, Beyondblue
  • Dr Sue Hodgkin, Senior Research Fellow, John Richards Initiative, Australian Institute for Primary Care & Ageing, La Trobe University

Important Dates

  • Abstracts Open:  April 2017
  •  Abstracts Close: 7 July 2017
  • Notification to Authors: 21 July 2017
  • Author Acceptances Due:  4 August 2017
  • Draft Program Available: 7 August 2017
  • Presenter Amendments: 25 August 2017
  • Full Papers for Peer Review: 1 September 2017
  • Presenter Registrations Close: 30 August 2017
  • Early Bird Registrations Close: 30 August 2017
  • Non-Peer Review Papers:  29 September 2017

Primary Health Network Panel

  • Mr Vahid Saberi, CEO, North Coast PHN
  • Mr Matt Jones, CEO, Murray PHN
  • Ms Nicki Herriot, CEO, Northern Territory PHN (invited)
  • Mr Stuart Gordon, CEO, Western Queensland PHN
  • Moderator, Mr James Lamerton, CEO, Murrumbidgee PHN

Who Should Attend

  • Workers in the provision of rural and remote mental health services
  • Social Workers
  • Mental Health Nurses
  • Aboriginal Health Workers
  • Allied Health Professionals
  • Psychologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Public and Private Health Services
  • Private Practitioners
  • Counsellors
  • General Practitioners
  • Academics
  • Researchers
  • Clinicians
  • Rehabilitation Consultants
  • Health Professionals
  • Carers
  • Consumers
  • Non-Government Organisations
  • Commonwealth Government
  • Community Representatives
  • Educational Institutions
  • Local/State/Governments
  • Policy Makers

What you will gain from the Symposium

  • Be exposed to new and innovating ideas and ways of thinking
  • Network with your peers and leaders in their fields
  • Be inspired
    • by an optimistic, action orientated group of people
    • by profound and positive speakers
  • Learn key skills needed for ensuring the future
  • Learn how to make a positive difference

The 9th Australian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium is an initiative of The Australian & New Zealand Mental Health Association, a ‘not-for-profit’ organisation.

2016 Symposium

The 2016 symposium wrapped up with a moving speech by Susan Moylan-Coombs the Founder and Director of The Gaimaragal Group. Susan spoke about The Lurking Variable and what we can learn from the oldest surviving living culture on the planet. She talked about the philosophies and teaching of Australia’s First Peoples and the connection and wellbeing for all Australians – in particular the link between mind, body and soul.

Susan’s presentation was preceded by Scientia Professor Helen Christensen discussing suicide prevention and David Butt CEO of the National Rural Health Alliance. Delegates at the conference were also involved in the consultation process of the Fifth National Mental Health Plan with a presentation by David McGrath and Q&A opportunity.

The symposium involved three days of workshops, feature speakers, panels and session presentations. Feedback by delegates was extremely positive regarding presentations and speakers, especially our Keynotes which also included Dr Vahid Saberi, CEO North Coast Primary Health Network; Professor Nickolai Titov from the MindSpot Clinic; Professor Jane Farmer from Swinburne University; Alison Fairleigh Area Manager, Mental Illness Fellowship; and Associate Professor Philip Ward, University of NSW.

Delegates had beautiful warm weather and relaxed surroundings at the Mantra on Salt at Kingscliff, very conducive to positive networking. The Symposium Advisory Committee is looking forward to seeing everyone again in 2017.

The Program Committee would like to thank the featured speakers:

  • Mr David Butt, Chief Executive Officer, National Rural Health Alliance, (Immediate past Chief Executive of the National Mental Health Commission)
  • Scientia Professor Helen Christensen, Director & Chief Scientist, Black Dog Institute, Chair, Centre of Research Excellence in Suicide Prevention
  • Professor Jane Farmer, Research Professor of Health & Social Innovation, Deputy Director, Centre for Social Impact, Swinburne University, Melbourne
  • Ms Alison Fairleigh, Area Manager, Mental Illness Fellowship NQ Inc
  • Mr David McGrath, Principal, David McGrath Consulting
  • Ms Susan Moylan-Coombs, Founder and Director, The Gaimaragal Group
  • Dr Vahid Saberi, Chief Executive Officer; North Coast PHN, Adjunct Professor, School of Health & Human Science, Southern Cross University, Senior Research Fellow, Sydney University
  • Professor Nick Titov, Professorial Fellow, Project Director, MindSpot Clinic, Macquarie University
  • Associate Professor Philip Ward, Associate Professor, School of Psychiatry, University of NSW

Sponsors & Exhibitors 2016

MindSpot freudiancouch aacbt
cranaplus-bush-support-services acthealth act-health-and-geneva-healthcare_logo-2
emhprac  nan-tien-institute-nti  national-disability-coordination-officer-program
quest-for-life-foundation turning-point wayahead-mental-health-association
pathways-to-resilience  the-sanctuary-byron-bay  alcoholics-anonymous


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