Responding better to rural adversity

Posted 7th December 2020 in Research

The University of Newcastle’s Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health (CRRMH) has published research on responding better to rural adversity. 

A recent academic paper led by the CRRMH research team provides new insights into rural mental health and suicide linked to drought, bushfire, floods and climate change.

The paper What is Rural Adversity, How Does It Affect Wellbeing and What Are the Implications for Action? was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health and launched officially at the Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium in October this year.

The paper discusses the effect of cumulative stress on rural communities, and how in addition to life's normal challenges, it can contribute to higher levels of trauma, mental ill-health and in some cases, suicidal behaviour.

Findings from the paper highlight the importance of rural communities’ connection to the land, and how any changes to the land stemming from the impacts of climate change can lead to a disconnection and challenge the mental health of people living in rural communities. 

The paper includes conceptual models of the links between adverse events and mental distress from an eco-systems perspective.

It provides new recommendations on how health and support services are delivered moving away from short-term initiatives to a model that supports communities to build permanent and sustainable capacity.