Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

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


Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

How to deal with isolation if you live in a rural or remote area | Isolation and loneliness | ReachOut Australia

Finding a job, friends and health services is a lot harder when you live outside of a major city. Check out our tips on how to overcome these rural and remote hurdles.

Read more on ReachOut.com website

Flying Doctor Mental Health programs | Royal Flying Doctor Service

The Royal Flying Doctor Service provides Mental Health programs and services to those living in rural and remote Australia.

Read more on Royal Flying Doctor Service website

Rural and Remote Areas - Diverse Populations - Diversity - Community

Living rural and remote refers to living outside of the major cities in Australia. This includes those living in regional areas and in very remote areas. Although a higher level of life satisfaction is reported for people living in rural areas, they often have limited access to care and poorer health outcomes compared to people living in urban areas.

Read more on CareSearch website

Mental health in remote communities - NT.GOV.AU

Top End and Central Australia remote mental health services.

Read more on NT Health website

Supporting yourself - rural and remote people | Head to Health

While people in rural and remote Australia experience mental health issues at the same rate as those in the cities, they can face challenges in accessing health care and support services. Strengthening your mental health and wellbeing is something that anyone can do, no matter where you live.

Read more on Head to Health website

Kids in rural and remote areas: Coping with tough times

Children and young people face many different potentially traumatic, adverse and stressful experiences while they are growing up. But for kids growing up in rural and remote areas, the chance that a child will be confronted with trauma or adversity is even greater

Read more on Australian Child and Adolescent Trauma, Loss and Grief Network (ACATLGN) website

Depression and anxiety in rural men - Beyond Blue

Isolation and difficulty accessing services are some of the challenges faced by men living in rural and remote communities.

Read more on Beyond Blue website

Rural mental health

“People often say, ‘I don’t know what to say so I don’t say anything at all.’’ But, those of us living in these communities, we know each other well. We’re in the best position to notice when the stress is getting too much. We just need to be ready to look out for each other, stay connected, ask if we’re ok; and, if the answer is ‘No’, then know where to go get help.” - Stephanie Robinson, Lifeline Central West

Read more on Lifeline website

Payments and services for rural and remote Australians - Services Australia

There are payments and services available to support you if you live in a rural or remote area of Australia.

Read more on Centrelink website

Payments and services for rural and remote Australians - Services Australia

There are payments and services available to support you if you live in a rural or remote area of Australia.

Read more on Medicare website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo