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Australian Rural Mental Health Study (ARMHS)

The Australian Rural Mental Health Study (ARMHS) is a longitudinal study of 1800 households across rural and remote NSW, focusing on determinants of mental health as influenced by individual, family and community factors. The Study was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council and is conducted from the four sites of Orange, Broken Hill, Lismore and Moree.

Aims and Timeline

The ARMHS longitudinal study focuses on psychological symptoms and categories of psychiatric disorder.  ARMHS has investigated the factors that influence transition across the spectrum of distress and disorder, and the impact of symptoms on functioning.

Specifically, the ARMHS has the following aims:

  • Characterise patterns of psychological symptoms and psychiatric disorder, the associations with other health problems and the impact on functioning over a 5 year period
  • Characterise help-seeking and health service utilisation in response to psychological symptoms and psychiatric disorder over this period; with a focus on perceptions of need and barriers to care
  • Determine the influence of individual, household and community factors on the course of psychological symptoms, psychiatric disorders and disability, health service use and patterns of help-seeking over 2 yearly intervals.

ARMHS commenced in July 2006 , the recruited cohort was followed for five years and the study is still producing papers that build the evidence base of rural mental health in Australia.

Collaborating Organisations

Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health, University of Newcastle

Centre for Brain and Mental Health Research, University of Newcastle

School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle

The Broken Hill University Department of Rural Health, University of Sydney

AgHealth Australia School of Rural Health, University of Sydney

University Centre for Rural Health

School of Health and Human Sciences, Southern Cross University

Schizophrenia Research Institute at NeuRA

School of Psychiatry, University NSW

For more details on the ARMHS Longitudinal Research Plan,  please contact the Centre on (02) 6363 8444.

ARMHS Publications 2011-2018

Since 2010, ARMHS has published the following publications.

Categories include:

  • Patterns and determinants of symptoms and disorder
  • Drought and climate adversity
  • Service Utilisation/barriers to health care
  • Children, youth and families
  • Physical health/injury and mental health
  • Aboriginal Social and Emotional Well-Being
  • Methodology / Protocol Papers

Patterns and determinants of symptoms and disorder

Handley, T., Rich, J., Davies, K., Lewin, T., Kelly, B. (2018). The Challenges of Predicting Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviours in a Sample of Rural Australians with Depression. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(5). doi:10.3390/ijerph15050928

Handley, T. E., Hiles, S. A., Inder, K. J., Kay-Lambkin, F. J., Kelly, B. J., Lewin, T. J., . . . Attia, J. R. (2014). Predictors of suicidal ideation in older people: a decision tree analysis. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry, 22(11), 1325-1335. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2013.05.009

Inder KJ, Handley TE, Johnston A, Weaver N, Coleman C, Lewin TJ, Slade T, Kelly BJ. (2014). Determinants of suicidal ideation: parallel cross-sectional analyses examining geographical location. BMC Psychiatry, 14:208. doi:10.1186/1471-244X-14-208

Kay Lambkin FJ, Inder KJ, Handley TE, Yong YM, Lewin TJ, Kelly BJ. (2014). Lifetime affective and alcohol use disorder: Impact of comorbidity on current functioning and service use in a rural population. Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy; Special issue: S10 Addictions with Co-occurring Problems. DOI: 10.4172/2155-6105.S10-009

Handley TE, Attia JR, Inder KJ, Kay-Lambkin FJ, Barker D, Lewin TJ, Kelly BJ (2013). Longitudinal course and predictors of suicidal ideation in a rural community sample. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry; 47: 1032-1040. doi.org/10.1177/0004867413495318

Allen J, Inder KJ, Harris M, Lewin TJ, Attia J, Kelly BJ (2013) Quality of life impact of cardiovascular and affective conditions among older community residents. Health and Quality of life Outcomes, 11:140. doi:10.1186/1477-7525-11-140

Allen J, Inder KJ, Lewin TJ, Attia J, Kelly BJ (2013) Construct validity of the Assessment of Quality of Life – 6D scale (AQoL-6D) in community samples. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, 11:61. doi:10.1186/1477-7525-11-61

Handley T, Inder K, Kelly B. J, Attia J, Lewin T, Fitzgerald M, Kay-Lambkin F. (2012) You’ve got to have friends: The predictive value of social integration and support in suicidal ideation among rural communities. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 47:1281–1290 doi: 10.1007/s00127-011-0436-y

Handley TE, Inder KJ, Kay-Lambkin FJ, Stain HJ, Fitzgerald MN, Lewin TJ, Attia JR, Kelly BJ. (2012) Contributors to suicidality in rural communities: beyond the effects of depression. BMC Psychiatry; 12: 105. DOI: 10.1186/1471-244X-12-105

Allen J, Inder KJ, Lewin TJ, Attia J, Kelly BJ. (2012) Social support and age influence distress outcomes differentially across urban-regional and remote Australia. BMC Public Health  12:928 DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-12-928

Inder KJ, Handley TE, Fitzgerald M, Coleman C, Lewin TJ, Perkins D and Kelly BJ (2012) Individual and district-level predictors of alcohol use: cross sectional findings from a rural mental health survey in Australia. BMC Public Health; 12(1):586. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-12-586

Inder KJ, Lewin TJ, Kelly BJ (2012). Factors impacting on the wellbeing of older residents in rural communities. Perspectives in Public Health Jul;132(4):182-91. doi: 10.1177/1757913912447018

Kelly, BJ, Lewin, TJ, Stain, HJ, Coleman, C, Fitzgerald, M, Perkins, D, Carr, VJ, Fragar, L, Fuller, J, Lyle, D. & Beard, JR. (2011) Determinants of mental health and well-being within rural and remote communities.  Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. 46:1331–1342  doi: 10.1007/s00127-010-0305-0

Handley T, Inder K, Kelly B, Attia J, Kay-Lambkin F. (2011) Urban-rural influences on suicidality: Gaps in the existing literature and recommendations for future research? Australian Journal of Rural Health 19, 279–283 doi:10.1111/j.1440-1584.2011.01235.x

Drought and climate adversity

Austin, E., Handley, T., Kiem, A., Rich, J., Lewin, T., Askland, H., Askarimarnani, S., Perkins, D., Kelly, B. (2018) Drought-related stress among farmers: findings from the Australian Rural Mental Health Study. The Medical Journal of Australia doi: 10.5694/mja17.01200

Handley T, Kelly B, Lewin T, Coleman C, Stain H, Weaver N, Inder K, (2015). Long-term effects of lifetime trauma exposure in a rural community sample. BMC Public Health 15:1176 DOI 10.1186/s12889-015-2490-y

Stain HJ, Kelly B, Carr VJ, Lewin TJ, Fitzgerald M & Fragar L, (2011) The psychological impact of chronic environmental adversity: Responding to prolonged drought.  Social Science and Medicine 73 1593-1599. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2011.09.016

Service Utilisation/barriers to health care

Rich, J., Handley, T., Inder, K., Perkins, D. (2018) An experiment in using open-text comments from the Australian Rural Mental Health Study on health service priorities. Rural and Remote Health, 18(1). doi:10.22605/RRH4208

Handley T; Perkins D; Kay-Lambkin F; Lewin T; Kelly B. (2014) ‘Familiarity with and intentions to use Internet-delivered mental health treatments among older rural adults’ Aging and Mental Health, 2015; 19(11) pp.989-96  doi: 10.1080/13607863.2014.981744

Handley TE, Kay-Lambkin FJ, Inder KJ, Attia JR, Lewin TJ & Kelly BJ (2014). Feasibility of internet-delivered mental health treatments for rural populations. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 49(1), DOI: 10.1007/s00127-013-0708-9

Handley TE, Kay-Lambkin FJ, Inder KJ, Lewin TJ, Attia JR, Fuller J, Perkins D, Coleman C, Weaver N, Kelly BJ. (2014) Self-reported contacts for mental health problems by rural residents: predicted service needs, facilitators and barriers. BMC Psychiatry; 14: 249. doi:10.1186/s12888-014-0249-0

Perkins D, Fuller J, Kelly B, Lewin T, Fitzgerald M, Coleman C, Inder, K, Allan J, Arya D, Roberts R, Buss R (2013). Factors associated with reported service use for mental health problems by residents of rural and remote communities: cross-sectional findings from baseline survey. BMC Health Services Research, 13:157. doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-157

Green AC, Hunt C & Stain HJ. (2012) The delay between symptom onset and seeking professional treatment for anxiety and depressive disorders in a rural Australian sample. Social Psychiatry & Psychiatric Epidemiology, 47, 1475-1487. doi:10.1007/s00127-011-0453-x

Children, youth and families

Handley, T.E., Davies, K., Rich, J., Perkins, D. (2017). Understanding the Mental Health of Rural Young Adults: Risk and Protective Factors. International Journal of Mental Health and Psychiatry, 3(4). doi:10.4172/2471-4372.1000154

Butterworth P, Handley T, Lewin T, Reddy P, Kelly B. (2014). Psychological distress in rural Australia: Regional variation and the role of family functioning and social support. Journal of Public Health. doi:0.1007/s10389-014-0640-9

Novello, D, Stain, HJ, Lyle, D & Kelly, B. (2011). Psychological distress of rural parents: Family influence and the role of isolation. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 19, 27–3. DOI:10.1111/j.1440-1584.2010.01173.x

Physical health/injury and mental health

Handley, T., Lewin, T., Perkins, D., Kelly, B. (2018). Self‐recognition of mental health problems in a rural Australian sample. Australian Journal of Rural Health. doi:10.1111/ajr.12406

Inder, K., Holliday, E., Handley, T., Fragar, L., Lower, T., Booth, A., . . . Kelly, B. J. (2017). Depression and Risk of Unintentional Injury in Rural Communities—A Longitudinal Analysis of the Australian Rural Mental Health Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(9). doi:10.3390/ijerph14091080

Butterworth P, Kelly BJ, Handley TE, Inder KJ, Lewin TJ. (2017) Does living in remote Australia lessen the impact of hardship on psychological distress? Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences. https://doi.org/10.1017/S2045796017000117

Brew B, Inder K, Allen J, Thomas M, Kelly B (2016). The Health and Wellbeing of Australian Farmers : A Longditudinal Cohort Study BMC Public Health,16(1)  doi 10.1186/s12889-016-3664-y

Fragar LJ, Inder KJ, Kelly BJ, Coleman CE, Perkins D, Lewin TJ. (2013) Unintentional injury, psychological distress and depressive symptoms -is there an association for rural Australians? The Journal of Rural Health 29 12–19. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-0361.2012.00423.x

Methodology / Protocol Papers

Allen J, Inder KJ, Lewin TJ, Attia J, Kay-Lambkin FJ, Baker AL, Hazell T, Kelly BJ. (2013) Integrating and extending cohort studies: lessons from the Extending Treatments, Education and Networks in Depression (xTEND) study. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 13(1); 122. doi:10.1186/1471-2288-13-122

Kelly B, Stain H, Coleman C, Perkins D, Fragar L, Fuller J, Lewin T, Lyle D, Carr V, Wilson J and Beard J. (2010) Mental health and well-being within rural communities: The Australian Rural Mental Health Study. Aust. J. Rural Health (2010) 18, 16–24. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1440-1584.2009.01118.x

 

 

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