Psychological services in five South-West Queensland communities: supply and demand

Buikstra, E. and Fallon, A. B. and Eley, R. (2007) Psychological services in five South-West Queensland communities: supply and demand. Rural and Remote Health, 7 (1). pp. 1-11.

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This research gathered information in 2004 about psychological services provided to five rural communities located in South-West Queensland, Australia. Specifically, the aims of the project were to:
• Undertake an audit of existing psychological services;
• Determine the need for psychological services as perceived by providers of current services.

Potential providers of psychological services were contacted to confirm the nature and extent of their provision of psychological support to target communities. Thirty organisations met the definition of service providers offering assessment or intervention by qualified and/or experienced persons. Data were collected by semi-structured telephone interviews with 44 employees of the service providers.

The one main publicly-funded provider of services to the region offered limited services to the communities. Although some counselling was provided by social workers attached to the allied health programme, for patients to be supported by the mental health sector of this service, they must have had moderate to severe mental illness. Regular, reliable and accessible psychological support for other conditions was limited largely to services provided by non-government organisations (NGO) who are often constrained by continuity of funds.
Counselling for alcohol and drug misuse, women’s issues, sexual abuse, and crisis support were the most commonly identified unmet needs across target communities.
Difficulties in attracting experienced personnel to work in rural communities were reported. This was exacerbated by lack of job security brought about by short term funding to the NGOs. In general unqualified counsellors were recognised as providing valuable services.

There are limited psychological support services provided to these South-West Queensland communities. For available services, there are strict criteria for entry, limited accessibility and availability or lack of continuity owing to short term funding. There are a number of unmet psychological needs, with abuse being the most widely identified. Any withdrawal of existing psychological services is perceived by current providers of service as being potentially devastating.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - No Department
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2007 00:49
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 22:39
Uncontrolled Keywords: psychological services; counselling; mental health; rural communities
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1608 Sociology > 160804 Rural Sociology
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111708 Health and Community Services
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111714 Mental Health
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 92 Health > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920506 Rural Health

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