Recent studies suggest that almost half of all Australians at some stage in their lives will be affected by mental illness. Despite the prevalence of these conditions, particularly anxiety and depression, many harmful stigmas are still believed and reinforced by society and the media. This continuously leads to instances of social withdrawal and failure for those affected to seek help.
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There is a significant disparity in access to GPs across the Australian population. In 2014, the Bureau of Health Information reported our major cities utilised about 40% more GP services per capita than those in regional and remote areas, with roughly 36 million GP services being conducted in our cities compared to 2 million in regional and remote Australia. Mental health services are just as hard to access for regional, rural and remote dwellers - specifically, death by suicide is almost twice as likely in rural and remote areas due to lack of support services.
Did you know that people living in rural and remote areas of Australia face more daily challenges and stressors than living in the main cities? These include a greater prevalence of chronic conditions, disability, and generally poorer health. In some areas reporting 8 times the hospitalisation rate for mental health-related issues.
Almost half of all Australians will suffer from mental illness at some stage in their lives, yet many will refuse, or be unable to seek professional help due to social stigmas and a lack of access to services. Remote and regional dwellers are particularly affected, as geographical and social isolation can reduce the number of mental health services available.