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:
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CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS
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. A toolbox of resources have been developed to support and guide community efforts to promote and build wellbeing. CRRMH see this co-designed and local 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, Mindful Margaret River, to both learn from their experience and contribute to the creation and continued development of their initiatives.
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 and RAMHP work together on a variety of projects. Currently we are working on a pilot study to survey people linked to care by RAMHP Coordinators and an analysis of RAMHP training participant survey results. Findings from this research will inform the RAMHP program and be published in peer-reviewed journals.
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.