The Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health’s research addresses three broad questions:
- How can individuals, their families, and their communities stay mentally healthy?
- How can mental health services be improved?
- How can we understand and act to prevent rural suicide?
The CRRMH continues to make an important contribution to building the evidence base in rural mental health research, through work in the following areas:
CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS
CRRMH will be Everymind’s rural partner in a $3.1 million project, Ahead for Business to support the mental health of people who own or work in small business. The Wellbeing in Rural Small Business project will recruit small business owners and those who work in small business in the Central West of NSW.
This cohort study investigated individual, family and community factors associated with the mental health of residents in rural communities across New South Wales. The recruited cohort was followed for five years and the study is still producing research articles that build the evidence base of rural mental health in Australia, and further analyses continue.
CRRMH were supported by the Mental Health Commission of NSW to conduct a review of community wellbeing initiatives, with a view to producing a guide which could then be tailored to specific localities. CRRMH see this public health approach as a necessary step towards prevention of mental illness and promotion of positive mental wellbeing.
The research team have been working with Our Healthy Clarence (Grafton), Muswellbrook Healthy & Well, Lithgow, Margaret River, and various Act-Belong-Commit initiatives to both learn from their experience and contribute to the creation and continued development of their initiatives.
The CRRMH have been asked by Essential Energy to conduct a mental health review of their programs, policies and workplace influences on mental health. Interviews will be conducted with a wide variety of employees from across the state along with the facilitation of a workshop discussion and presentation of the findings.
Family Referral Service in Schools (FRSIS) evaluation
This program formed part of the Central Coast Integrated Care Program but is now being extended to more schools in the area. The program objective is to link vulnerable children and their families with the health and community services they need; thereby keeping these children engaged with school and learning. The evaluation will be co-designed with key stakeholders.
Research projects in integrated care include an evaluation of Mudgee integrated mental health care within primary health model, the evaluation of a mental health collaborative governance model on the Mid-North Coast of NSW, IMHpact MNC, and the evaluation of the Central Coast Integrated Care Program.
Promoting patient-centred care rather than provider-focused care that integrates mental and physical concerns, find out more here about integrated care in Australia.
National Coronial Information System Rural Suicide Study
Using primary data on rural suicide in Australia extracted from the National Coronial Information System (NCIS), this mixed methods study will examine macro-level population data and micro-level individual data across 4 jurisdictions (QLD, NSW, TAS, SA) to provide evidence of the relationship between different determinants of suicide as they relate to rural suicide.
Identifying points of interaction between age, sex, and other variables such as employment status, disability, mental and physical health, service contacts, levels of remoteness, and a range of social determinants measures, this study will help identify the characteristics of the most vulnerable groups for rural suicide, and inform where intervention and policy changes are most needed.
The Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) is a major project of the CRRMH with Coordinators based across regional, rural and remote NSW who inform, educate and connect individuals, communities and workplaces with appropriate services and programs. The research team are currently working with RAMHP on a pilot study to survey people linked to care by RAMHP Coordinators, as well as a survey within the 2019 Glove Box Guide to Mental Health with reader’s responses to inform future research at the Centre.
The Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) supported NSW Cricket Alumni group, the Baggy Blues in a rural cricket tour in 2018, which incorporated increasing mental health literacy – reaching a demographic which is typically harder to engage. The CRRMH conducted an evaluation of the cricket tour – view the summary here. Further evaluation is underway to assess reach at events.
Suicide prevention in farming project – While high rates of suicide among farming men is an ongoing problem there remains no evidence base for farmer suicide prevention and a lack of suicide prevention strategies tailored to men in farming occupations. Stakeholders will collaborate to develop place based suicide prevention strategies tailored to men in farming occupations and digital resources to equip rural communities across Australia. The project team includes CRRMH; National Enterprise for Rural Community Wellbeing, University of South Australia; National Centre for Farmer Health, Deakin University and Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention, Griffith University, QLD.