Our Story

 

CRRMH Video

History – 2001

The Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health was established in 2001 by a competitive tender process, with funding provided by the then New South Wales Department of Health. The University of Newcastle was the successful tenderer and established the Centre at its current base in Orange NSW. NSW Health has continued to provide funding through a series of five-year funding agreements.  

We exist to provide leadership in rural and remote mental health research; we work closely with rural communities, health providers, government agencies, NGOs and other researchers to influence service design, delivery and mental health education in rural and remote New South Wales.  The work we do here is relevant locally and internationally. 

Goals:
Improving the mental health of people living in rural and remote NSW
1. Through achievements in research, education and service evaluation
2. By collaboration with health services and rural communities, and
research and education institutions

Structure
• Academic infrastructure and library services
• Rural Mental Health Research and Development
• Education and training in Mental Health

Our partners include NSW Farmers, The Minerals Council, Anglicare, The Department of Primary Industries, WorkCover NSW, GP NSW, The Rural Women’s Network and the Country Women’s Association. We work closely with The Land Newspaper producing the annual “Glove Box Guide to Mental Health”, supporting its Mental Health web page and monthly interactive online mental health forums. 

Through our research we have contributed significantly to the evidence that residents in rural and remote communities face special challenges maintaining good mental health that are different to those living in cities. These include extreme weather events, financial uncertainty, economic and social change and social isolation. These challenges are not easily understood by residents and policymakers in Sydney who have better access to services and a greater range of service choices to help them with their mental health and wellbeing.  

The Centre was responsible for designing and managing the community-based work that was done to support rural communities during the millennium drought (a state-wide program for the frontline staff of 47 Rural Lands Protection Boards) and the development of a drought mental health program (which attracted more than two-thousand, mostly farmers, to its initial roll out), that has now became the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program that has staff based in Local Health Districts across rural and remote New South Wales.   

The Centre has from the outset been informed and advised by two key committees – the Community and Aboriginal Advisory Committees. The Community Advisory Committee, Chaired by Ms Marie Russell AM, provides advice to the Director on all matters relating to the mission, goals and objectives of the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health. Organisations represented on this committee include: NSW Farmers; WorkCover NSW; Department of Primary Industries; Rotary; rural councils; NGOs; universities; health providers. The Aboriginal Advisory Committee, chaired by Mr Tom Brideson, guides the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health (CRRMH) to build cultural safety and respect for Aboriginal people at the CRRMH, and to engage appropriately in research, education and service development with Aboriginal communities. Further, the Committee provides guidance to the CRRMH in ensuring that Aboriginal Community Governance is established as an integral and ongoing process of the operations of CRRMH from inception to exit. 

Over the years, the Centre has worked closely with a range of rurally-based industry associations (such as New South Wales Farmers), other government agencies (such as the Department of Primary Industries) and community organisations (such as Rotary and the Country Women’s Association).   

These partnerships have resulted a number of significant achievements such as the “Mental Health Blueprint for NSW Farmers”; the a “GP Farm Health and Safety Toolkit” for general medical practitioners working in rural and remote communities who need to understand the health risks faced by local residents, and the annual “Glove Box Guide to Mental Health”. 

The Centre has specific expertise in providing evidence-based advice about the delivery of mental health services in rural and remote areas.  Over the years it has undertaken a range of specific development projects for the Ministry of Health.  The Centre worked closely with the  rural-based Local Health Districts and Primary Health Networks on projects related to improving the delivery of mental health and associated services.  

The Centre has undertaken a number of initiatives that are relevant to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population of rural and remote NSW.  It was instrumental in the development of the Murdi Paaki Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Network.  More recently it has been instrumental in the development and delivery of a Community Wellbeing Project for Aboriginal communities that utilises the central role that rugby league clubs play in these communities. 

The Centre has provided commissioned reports and briefings to the National Mental Health Commission and to the New South Wales Mental Health Commission specifically related to the mental health needs of rural and remote communities and to the types of services they need.  Submissions and Reports

The CRRMH was established in 2001 funded by NSW Health. The University of Newcastle (UON) was competitively awarded the tender. Western NSW LHD (GWAHS) supported the Centre at
Bloomfield campus in Orange

The CRRMH, through its research and service delivery has contributed substantially to the evidence that residents in rural and remote communities face special challenges maintaining good mental health that are different to those living in cities. Challenges include extreme weather events, financial uncertainty, economic and social change and social isolation. These challenges are not easily understood by residents and policymakers in Sydney who have better access to services and a greater range of service choices to help them with their mental health and wellbeing.  

The CRRMH understands that we cannot achieve the outcomes that rural people deserve without strong and beneficial relationships with other trusted organisations operating in our rural communities. Partnerships played a integral part in the work of CRRMH and we are thankyou for the opportunity to collaborate with leading orgnaisations. 

Document_5 year achievements_final_June2020

 

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