In mid-April 2021, the HCA project team seeking solutions to the problems in small rural towns for mental health workforce, visited Bourke for the third time. This followed a report on the first stage of the project (in 2020) which is to be published soon by the NSW Mental Health Commission, and an extension and expansion of the project funding for another 12 months.
The extension of the project, involving HCA’s Principal Lee Ridoutt and senior Associate, Susan Nancarrow, will allow the innovative solution to be fully developed in Bourke, and then for the process to be tested in two more towns in the Western NSW Local Health District.
So far the project has:
- constructed a framework of structural, community and individual mental health support needs
- developed a draft competency framework for all types of mental health workforce requirements from community mental health promotion to individual support
- created a process to identify and prioritise mental health support needs in any small town
- designed and tested an online tool for assessing and quantifying the mental health support competencies in a town
A summary description of the project can be downloaded here.