SCARF Senate Speech
With drought gripping many parts of Australia, Senator John Williams took the opportunity on March 19 to make a Matters of Public Interest Speech on Mental Health to the Senate.
Spurred by his 27 February meeting with the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health’s Meg Perceval and Professor Prasuna Reddy, Senator Williams informed the Senate about Farm-Link’s innovative SCARF program.
Senator Williams said “The SCARF program is innovative and is achieving a number of Australian firsts. It is the first program to: target a specific rural audience; take a truly primary prevention approach to suicide prevention with a focus on health and wellbeing; translate the interpersonal theory of suicide to the rural community and clinical audiences; evaluate its impact using externally created and previously validated scientific scales to measure changes in stigma and literacy of suicide as well as mental wellbeing for participants; and provide a comprehensive evidence-based time economic program accessible to both community and clinicians’.
After providing the Senate with an outstanding overview of the state of mental health in Australia, particularly in rural and remote areas, Senator Williams closed his speech saying “Today I have concentrated on the husbands, the fathers and the sons—the male side of the family. We should never forget that the wives, the mothers and the partners also need support so they can be strong, because life is a partnership and mental health is not a stigma’.
Read the speech in its entirety here.