Mental Health and Suicide Prevention in Rural Communities

The 2018 Australian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium will this year be held over 15-17 October at the Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart, Tasmania.

Joining us at the conference is Dr Annette Beautrais, Suicide Prevention Co-ordinator at South Canterbury District Health Board, New Zealand who will present on ‘Mental Health and Suicide Prevention in Rural Communities’.

Abstract

Mental health and suicide prevention in rural communities are vital concerns. While there are many similarities in the mental health problems experienced by urban and rural dwellers, living and working rurally can impose particular stresses which may lead to mental health problems, and, for some, suicide. National mental health strategies need to be customised to ensure service delivery and support to rural people and tailored to provide rural solutions to specific rural stresses, including problems such as loneliness, harmful alcohol use and access to firearms.

Challenges and strategies of rural mental health and suicide prevention include: improving access to treatment; educating primary care professionals to screen for and manage depression, hazardous alcohol use, and suicide risk; educating community gatekeepers about mental health and suicide prevention; encouraging the use of online resources; clarifying local pathways to care and establishing crisis response protocols appropriate for the local community; and targeting suicide prevention programmes to community risk profiles and needs.

Biography

Dr Annette Beautrais has worked in suicide research, prevention, and education, in New Zealand and internationally, since 1991. She has developed and implemented widely a skills-based suicide prevention programme designed for primary care and social service providers in rural New Zealand. She has also conducted research about farmer suicide. Her current interests include mental health and suicide prevention in rural regions, suicide prevention in men, and longitudinal studies of suicidal behaviour.

For more information on the 2018 Australian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium and to secure early bird discounted rates currently on offer please visit anzmh.asn.au/rrmh