Rural mental health

Rural mental health

Rural mental health teaser

21 Jul 2017

Living and working in regional, rural or remote Western Australia can be a very rewarding and challenging way of life. People living in regional, rural and remote areas are known for being down-to-earth, practical and resilient. But, living away from metropolitan areas can be difficult and it’s important to ask for help during tough times.

Rural Australians face greater challenges due to both the difficulty of accessing the support needed for mental illness and the need for greater visibility to break down stigma associated with mental health.

Why is harder to seek and find help in regional, rural or remote areas?

  • A lack of local services and professionals (e.g. doctors, mental health professionals, financial advisers, government agencies)
  • Support services are too far away or too expensive
  • Thinking you can manage your problems by yourself
  • Feeling embarrassed or afraid to ask help, in case loved ones find out, or you’re worried that people will judge you for seeking help
  • Not knowing where to go to find help

Tips for getting help in regional, rural or remote Western Australia 

When things become overwhelming support from other people can really help. It might be difficult to ask for help or you might not even realise that you need help. But getting help when you need it doesn’t have to be difficult. Don’t be afraid to try different types of support until you find what works best for you.

Recognise when things are getting too much - Sometimes we’re so busy we don’t even realise we need a break. Look out for any changes in your behaviour, thoughts or physical health that might indicate you need some help.

Listen to concerns of your friends and family and talk to them, rather than brushing them off. If you have thoughts about suicide or harming yourself, call Lifeline WA immediately on 13 11 14.
Visit your doctor - Your GP can help you understand your situation and point you in the right direction to find more support. If you don’t feel comfortable going to the doctor alone take a family member or friend with you. Be honest about all the symptoms you are experiencing, including how you’ve been feeling.
Look online - There are a range of resources, information and support available online to anyone who does not have access to services close by. Try seek out resources that have been referred by a website or service you trust.
Talk about it - It can be hard to talk about your problems. But, having the support of family and friends can really help you cope with difficult situations. If you don’t want to talk to family or friends, you can try a counsellor, health professional, community worker, minister or call a helpline like Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Be positive and proactive - It can be helpful to focus on what you can do, rather than what’s out of your control. A good way to get started is to write down your issues, brainstorm possible solutions and identify small steps on how to achieve them. You can also make a list of where to go for different types of help and advice (e.g. emotional support, financial advice) and keep it in a handy place. This makes it easier to seek help when you need it.
Get professional help if you need it - Your GP can refer you to a counsellor or psychologist.

Where to go for help 

Your GP
Call Lifeline WA (13 11 14)  or use our online crisis support chat service
Visit your local Community Centre for referrals to services
Rotary/Lions Club
Check online for additional resources and information

Other services


Mens Helpline

SANE forums   
Peer-to-peer support for people living with a mental health problem, and for their families and other carers.

Suicide callback service

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