A study focussing on the training and development needs of mental health service providers, consumers and carers in rural Australia has revealed that more training and development opportunities need to be provided closer to where people live.
393 people responded to the survey conducted by the National Rural Health Alliance as part of its contribution to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into the role of mental health in supporting economic participation, enhancing productivity and economic growth.
Survey respondents highlighted that while most had undertaken some level of training in mental health and wellbeing, more needed to be done. More training opportunities need to be created for practitioners, consumers and carers in more accessible ways. Respondents highlighted the difficulty in accessing training provided away from their local area, the cost of training programs being prohibitive and in many cases not being employer sponsored despite being necessary to undertake the their role. The other interesting finding was the need for a deeper level of understanding of mental health.
As one respondent commented: "Although I've personally studied to fill any gaps I've noticed, my university training was insufficient for providing training in emotional dysregulation, strategies to help with alcohol and substance abuse, and general trauma."
Other areas flagged for more training included working with adolescents and children, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, suicide prevention and self-harm and dealing with severe and enduring mental illness.
The survey formed the basis of the Alliance's submission to the Productivity Commission and can be found here.
View Productivity Commission Mental Health Inquiry website.