Study to Assess the Value of an Integrated Workforce Approach to Mental Health Care in Rural and Remote Towns

START June, 2020
END February, 2021
FUNDER Mental Health Commission of New South Wales
VALUE $16,848
PROJECT TEAM Professor Nicholas Goodwin, Professor Rhonda Wilson, Mr Lee Ridoutt, Dr Susan Nancarrow
CONTACT Professor Nick Goodwin
PARTNERS Human Capital Alliance, University of Newcastle

The purpose of this study was to assess a proof of concept around a novel way of meeting mental health service needs in a small rural town using existing workforce resources. The research has supported ongoing work in developing a new model for mental health support for small rural towns across NSW.

The research found that there was no truly comprehensive approach that could be developed to identify and support the mental health needs of rural communities. However, by reframing mental health support needs through the lens of ‘whole of community’ then a different assets-based and integrated solution was developed for further piloting. The work has supported the development of guidance to identify the competencies in rural towns in meeting the mental health needs of their communities, how to grow and strengthen the local mental health workforce, and a framework for working with local communities to assess needs and co-design local solutions.