RURAL ADVOCATE: Dr Adam Coltzau of the RDAA endorsed the Senate enquiry into rural mental health services.
RURAL ADVOCATE: Dr Adam Coltzau of the RDAA endorsed the Senate enquiry into rural mental health services. Mackenzie Colahan

Inquiry to tackle rural mental health

Help is on the way for the many suffering in silence with mental health conditions.

The Government has announced an investigation into the lack of accessibility to mental health services in regional and remote Australia.

Rural Doctors Association of Australia president Dr Adam Coltzau welcomed the "timely” Senate inquiry.

"There is a critical need to improve access to mental healthcare in rural Australia,” Dr Coltzau said.

"Many rural patients find it hard to access mental health help when they need it - and often this comes down to the shortage of psychologists and other mental health professionals in the bush.

"It's also important to recognise that it is often only through a consultation for a physical health concern that a rural doctor will uncover a patient's mental health needs.”

Dr Coltzau admitted increasing the availability of mental health services was only half the battle.

In order to properly address the issue, community attitudes - especially amongst blokes - toward seeking professional help needs to change.

"I tell my patients they should treat it the same as any other medical condition,” he said.

"If you had a heart attack, diabetes, or a stroke you would get help.

"This is no different.”


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