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They just don't care: the experiences of mental health consumers in a Queensland bush community

  • Year: 2007
  • Author: McColl, Lisa
  • Journal Name: Australian e-Journal for the Advancement of Mental Health (AeJAMH)
  • Journal Number: Vol.6, No.2
  • Country: Australia
  • State/Region: Queensland

This paper arises from research undertaken in a Queensland rural community to determine the influence of bush identity on attitudes to mental health. Through questionnaires and interviews with mental health service consumers, it was discovered that they felt discriminated against, alienated, disempowered, unsupported and alone. Although consumer input has been acknowledged as essential to mental health reform in recent years, this paper argues that there is still a long way to go. Issues identified in this study include the negative perception of mental health issues, barriers that they encounter, stigma and service provision problems. Lack of understanding and support from the community was also raised by consumers as compounding their isolation. The paper concludes with recommendations to enhance the situation for mental health consumers in rural communities, including increased consumer involvement in mental health awareness, promotion and educational activities, improved service provision and ways to empower and encourage mental health consumers to become valued community members.

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