Rural kids face tougher challenges in seeking help
CHILDREN in regional Australia are facing many barriers blocking their access to the mental health support they need.
According to ReachOut evaluation manager Atari Metcalf it is barriers such as distance, privacy, anonymity and cost that are deterring young people from seeking help.
"Mental health services are already stretched pretty thin everywhere including metropolitan areas," Mr Metcalf said. "But in regional centres there are more barriers faced by young people.
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"There is an extreme limitation of services in regional and remote centres therefore making distance to travel to the closest service becomes a major issue.
"But that is not just related to the time of travel or the cost of travel, it is also a privacy issue. If kids are dependent on parents taking them to appointments because of a lack of public transport, when they aren't ready to open up to their parents about the problem it can create a tough situation."
Mr Metcalf said to combat the issue of mental illness among our youth we need to focus on "upstream initiatives".
"There needs to be a focus on prevention and early intervention in order to reduce the prevalence of mental health problems and by extension, reduce demand on our overstretched treatment services," he said.
"We need to help kids realise the things they can do to arrest the development of mental health problems."