News

Launch of research network for rural mental health



4 June 2012

Improving mental health services in regional Australia is the focus of a Collaborative Research Network (CRN) launched at the University of New England in Armidale today.

UNE, along with five partners - the Universities of NSW, Sydney and Newcastle, La Trobe University, and the Hunter New England Local Health Network - will investigate and implement strategies to improve the education of health professionals working in regional settings and to expand existing rural health strengths.

UNE's Chancellor, Richard Torbay, said studies had shown that people living in rural and remote areas tended to be in poorer health than their counterparts in urban areas. "The research undertaken by this CRN will help us understand the shortfalls in the current system and allow us to work with health professionals on the front line to develop effective solutions," Mr Torbay said.

The Commonwealth Government has contributed $4.8 million towards the $7 million 'CRN for Mental Health and Well‐being in Rural and Regional Communities'. The research will look at the areas of health workforce stability, self‐care, suicide, disabilities, sexuality, inclusion, and biomedical science supporting rural mental health.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Higher Education and Skills, Sharon Bird was in Armidale to launch the program.

The CRN is supported by a large and dynamic bio-psychosocial team of senior academic staff across the five partner organisations, with the University of Sydney arm led by the Australian Family and Disability Studies Research Collaboration in the Faculty of Health Sciences. Their work will focus on the theme of 'Self-care and mental health within regional communities.'

More information is available on the CRN-Mental Health website: http://www.une.edu.au/crn-mentalhealth/