Past Research Projects
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) 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.
The study aimed to better understand the wellbeing needs of small business owners by asking questions about mental health, wellbeing and support networks. This information will be used by CRRMH and Everymind to develop support and resources that are tailored to the rural small business community. Find out more here.
CRRMH were asked by Essential Energy to conduct a mental health review of their programs, policies and workplace influences on mental health. Interviews were 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 and was extended to schools in the area. The program objective was to link vulnerable children and their families with the health and community services they need; thereby keeping children engaged with school and learning. The evaluation will be co-designed with key stakeholders.
Research projects in integrated care included 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.
In 2019 The Virtual Dementia Friendly Rural Communities (Verily Connect) project trialed strategies to increase connection and support for rural carers of people living with dementia in 12 communities across 3 states of Australia. The project implemented a model for engaging with communities to increase support for rural people living with dementia by using online strategies, coupled with face-to-face and computer-mediated communication. This approach was perceived as being a useful model for augmenting access to information and support for rural communities. At conclusion of the project in November 2019 it was seen that this model could increase support for rural people who are living with dementia, their carers, and their communities. The model leverages technology to overcome challenges of distance that can otherwise disadvantage rural people. In addition, it capitalises on harnessing local ways of working and local champions to increase buy-in and relevance to rural communities, and in the process, tailoring implementation actions to best suit each community. Read the final report here.
The LINKER Service (Specialist Homelessness Service Domestic Violence Response Enhancement) was established in 2016 to support women and children in Western NSW escaping domestic and family violence. The CRRMH was commission by Barnardos Australia in consortium with Western NSW Specialist Homelessness Services to evaluate the LINKER Service.
On 9 September 2019, we released our findings on how LINKER supports victims. The report also provides insight into the successes of LINKER and how the program can be improved to assist more women and children in crisis. Read the full report here.
A documentary has also been created by Barnardos featuring LINKER support workers and the remarkable women they have helped to rebuild their lives. Watch below.
You can also read more about the LINKER service here
National Suicide Prevention Trial
The National Suicide Prevention Trial covered a three-year period from 2016-17 up to 2018-19. It aimed to provide evidence of how a more systems based approach to suicide prevention might be best undertaken within the Australian context. Twelve regions were chosen for the trial with decisions on planning and implementation of trial activities to be based on advice from local communities. In 2017, the CRRMH was commissioned by Western NSW Primary Health Network to undertake community and service provider consultations within the trial site of Western NSW and to assist in the development of strategies and implementation of services that support local areas.
Evaluation of ACT PHN commissioned psychological intervention activities – Next Step
The CRRMH, in partnership with Human Capital Alliance were commissioned by the ACT PHN to carry out a summative evaluation of their psychological services called Next Step. Next Step takes a stepped-care approach to deliver Cognitive Behavioural Therapy based services at two levels, low and high intensity, according to the consumer’s needs. The evaluation, using mixed methods (quantitative and qualitative), looked at consumers’ access to services, reach of the program, completion rates, and consumer experiences and outcomes.
Rural and Regional Cricket Tour
The Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) supported NSW Cricket Alumni group, the Baggy Blues in a rural cricket tour 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.
GPs with a Special Interest in Mental Health (GPswSIMH)
The Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network contracted a consortium comprising the Black Dog Institute, the CRRMH and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) to develop a competency framework, guidelines and an accredited training package for General Practitioners with a Special Interest in Mental Health (GPswSIMH). The aim of the project was to enhance GPs’ skills in the area of mental health to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of primary care services for patients with mental health issues, and improve coordination of care to ensure patients receive the right care in the right place at the right time.
Books on Prescription – another tool in the stepped-care mental health tool kit
Self-care and supported self-care are important early steps in the treatment of mild to moderate mental health conditions. There is strong evidence that self-help reading can assist people with common mental health conditions.
The CRRMH partnered with the Books on Prescription scheme, which supports these treatment steps and is now available in public libraries across Central and Far Western NSW. Books included in the scheme are clinically verified, based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and cover a range of mild to moderate mental health conditions, including anxiety and depression.
Evaluation of the 2017 Glove Box Guide to Mental Health
Our major program, the Rural Adeveristy Mental Health Program (RAMHP) has undergone a change in focus to linking people to care. Stemming from this has been a restructure in the program logic and also in the way information is collected. A pilot research study began in 2017 to evaluate the influence of the 2017 Glove Box Guide to Mental Health and whether it influences help seeking behaviour for mental health problems. View the summary report.
Orange Aboriginal Medical Service Youth Access Project
The CRRMH was a collaborator in a study into the Orange Aboriginal Medical Service (OAMS) Youth Access Project, along with OAMS and researchers from The University of Sydney and Western Sydney University. The project aimed to improve access and service delivery within OAMS for Aboriginal young people by providing an evidence base to inform service level changes and the development of an OAMS Youth Program.
Dr Georgina Luscombe from The University of Sydney presented on Enhancing healthcare access for rural Aboriginal adolescents: a population health approach at the 15th National Rural Health Conference in Hobart in 2019.
Rapid Review – Low Intensity Mental Health Services
CRRMH works closely with rural local health districts, the NSW Mental Health Branch and Primary Health Networks on projects regarding mental health service priorities, including models of integrated mental health care. The Centre provides advice on rural mental health to the NSW Mental Health Commission and the Health Minister.
CRRMH produced a rapid review of the literature on Low Intensity Mental Health Services for a consortium of Primary Health Networks.
Stayin’ on Track
CRRMH researchers contributed to the ‘Stayin’ on Track: Young Aboriginal Fathers Project’, which was led by Prof Richard Fletcher at the University of Newcastle’s Family Action Centre. This project supported young Aboriginal men manage the life changing event of becoming a father. It is focused on the experiences of young Aboriginal dads in Moree, Tamworth and Newcastle.
Step by Step Bush Fire Support Service
The SBS project was established in response to the 2013 bush fires in the Blue Mountains, NSW. In collaboration with the Ministry of Police, Emergency Services (MPES) and The University of Newcastle, the CRRMH undertook the evaluation of SBS to gain an understanding of how this service operated during the Blue Mountains bush fires in 2013 and how effective the service was to the people who used it.
The Warrumbungle Bush Fire Support Coordination Service
The Warrumbungle BSCS was designed to help affected individuals, families and communities recover from the Warrumbungle bushfires of January 2013. Recognising the rareness of evaluations undertaken on post-disaster services like the BSCS, the CRRMH and NSW Ministry for Police and Emergency Services collaborated to conduct an evaluation.
Read more: “Supporting Rural Australian Communities after Disaster: the Warrumbungle Bushfire Support Coordination Service”
Working Well – Mental Health and Mining
The CRRMH collaborated on this Resources Industry Skills Association (RISA) award winning research project and assessed 1450 coal mine employees regarding access to care, understanding and experience of mental health concerns. This work resulted in four peer reviewed papers and informed the national Mining Industry Blueprint for Mental Health and Wellbeing.
Caring for our Port Stephens Youth – A needs analysis
A report on youth mental health needs in Port Stephens, NSW prepared by CRRMH with funding support from HNE PHN and support from Port Stephens Council.