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Tackling tough times: drought mental health initiative

  • Year: 2008
  • Author: Greig, Julie; Crockett, Judith; Tonna, Anne
  • Journal Name: Auseinetter
  • Journal Number: 30
  • Country: Australia
  • State/Region: New South Wales

The Drought Mental Health Assistance Package (DMHAP) for New South Wales was announced by the State Government in October 2006. Its aim was to deal with prolonged stress in rural communities affected by drought through increasing capacity in individuals, service providers and communities. Awareness of mental health issues and early intervention was raised through a range of activities, including: Mental Health First Aid workshops to improve individuals' ability to respond to their own and others' emerging mental health needs; Service Network meetings to improve links among service providers; community events, called Tackling Tough Times gatherings, to increase mental health literacy, reduce stigma and identify local pathways to care; and development of mental health resources for consumers and service providers working closely with beyondblue. This article describes the implementation and outcomes of the DMHAP project and identifies factors critical to its success, particularly the active participation and collaboration of government and non government sector organisations. It discusses how the 2007 DMHAP experience can inform the 2008 DMHAP project.

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