Mental health plan helps rural areas says Senator

The cover of the Mental Health, Suicide Prevention, Alcohol and Other Drug Services Regional Plan 2017-2020.
The cover of the Mental Health, Suicide Prevention, Alcohol and Other Drug Services Regional Plan 2017-2020.

A comprehensive health plan to establishes a framework for the health needs of western Queensland will go a long way towards improving the wellbeing of those communities, says LNP Senator Ian Macdonald.

Senator Macdonald said the Mental Health, Suicide Prevention, Alcohol and Other Drug Services Regional Plan 2017-2020, launched last month by the Western Queensland Primary Health Network, was a great example of collaboration between government and private health care providers.

“This plan, a detailed approach and direction for mental health, suicide prevention and Alcohol and Other Drugs services, is a tremendous step forward for the health and well-being of these communities,” he said.

Senator Macdonald said people in lower socio-economic areas are more likely to have mental health issues than those in higher areas.

The report said one in five Australians experience some form of mental health or AOD issue every year, and one in four young adults aged between 16 and 24 will be currently experiencing such issues and these numbers were likely to be much higher for people living in Western Queensland because of the area’s high level of socio-economic disadvantage.

People living in the lowest socio-economic areas are 1.4 times more likely to have mental health issues than those living in the highest socio-economic areas, according to 2016 figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. 

The Western Queensland region covers communities including Burke Shire, Carpentaria, Cloncurry, Doomadgee, McKinlay, Mornington, Mount Isa and Boulia, and stretches the length of the Northern Territory border, from west of the Gulf of Carpentaria, south to the border of South Australia and New South Wales.