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Rural or remote mental health

4-minute read

Living and working in rural Australia can be a rewarding and challenging way of life. However, for many reasons it can be difficult to get help and support for mental health issues.

Recognising when help and support is needed, either for yourself or for someone else, is very important.

Your mental health is an important part of your overall health and wellbeing. You need good mental health to help you get through life’s challenges, to have healthy relationships with others and to enjoy life.

If you live outside a major city, it can be hard to find help. You may have to be self-sufficient to live in the country, especially in remote areas, but that means some people think they can manage by themselves all the time. They might also feel too embarrassed to ask for help, or not know where to find it if they did want to ask.

Access to care may also be difficult if you need to travel a long distance to see a health professional. However, there may be eHealth (online) and telehealth services available in your area. If you do not have internet access, telehealth services may be a good option. These reduce your need to travel and can give you access to specialists more quickly. (See 'Where to get help').

Common mental health issues faced by people in rural or remote locations

You might face some of the usual challenges of modern life — relationships, family, work, money and so on. But people living in the country can also feel isolated, especially if they face issues around sexuality, and may face problems with alcohol and drug misuse.

Farmers can face particular problems due to:

Looking after your mental health in the country

Looking after your mental health means:

  • recognising when things are getting too much for you
  • talking to your doctor or another mental health professional about how you are feeling
  • talking about your experiences and problems with either your family, your local friends, a health professional or via a helpline, such as MensLine
  • actively dealing with how you are feeling
  • looking at what resources, information and support are available for you online

Where to get help

If you are interested in seeking some advice about your mental health, a good first step may be to see your doctor, a psychologist or a counsellor. There are also many organisations you can contact for help.

If you are having a personal crisis:

  • Lifeline (anyone having a personal crisis) — call 13 11 14 or chat online
  • Suicide Call Back Service (anyone thinking about suicide) — call 1300 659 467
  • Kids Helpline (focused on kids, teens and young adults aged below 25 years) — call 1800 55 1800

If you want general mental health support and information:

  • eheadspace (for people aged 12 to 25 and their families) — call 1800 650 890 or chat online
  • Beyond Blue (anyone feeling depressed or anxious) — call 1300 22 4636 or chat online
  • Black Dog Institute (anyone affected by mood disorders) — online help
  • SANE Australia (people living with a mental illness) — call 1800 18 7263 or chat online
  • This Way Up Clinic (anyone with stress, anxiety and depression) — online courses
  • MindSpot (people with anxiety and depression) — call 1800 61 44 34 or complete an online screening assessment.
  • Pregnancy, Birth and Baby (telephone, video call and online counselling for parents — call 1800 882 436
  • My Aged Care (aged care services provided by the Australian government) — call 1800 200 422

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: September 2021

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