These findings are encouraging because they imply that short-form mental health training can be a useful strategy to address the lower mental health outcomes for rural residents by enhancing participants’ capacity to assist others as well as oneself.
Short courses in mental health, like MHSS, should be seriously considered as a way to improve access to services and literacy, especially in remote areas.
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Keywords: capacity building, mental health, health promotion theory, rural population, and health literacy
Go to: 1. INTRODUCTION One in five Australians between the ages of 16 and 85 encounter a mental illness each year, and nearly half (45.5%) will do so over their lifetime. 1 Australians living in cities and those living outside of big cities both experience mental illness at similar rates, but rural dwellers fare worse in terms of their mental health and self-harm and suicide rates are greater outside of the main cities. People who live outside of Australia’s main cities have significantly less access to mental health treatments, and they face significant structural and psychological hurdles to using them, according to studies 2, 3, and 4. 6, 7, 8 Complex service access issues include provider-level obstacles like pricing and appropriateness as well as user-level difficulties like reaching and interacting with services. Low mental health knowledge is one attitude barrier to service utilisation that may be particularly common in rural regions. High stigma levels associated with mental illness, perceived lack of confidentiality while using specialised services in small communities, and stoic, self-reliant attitudes toward asking for help are just a few of the problems that exist. Increased funding for services may not be sufficient to address the issue of rural access, according to 11 and 12 the diversity of factors influencing service use. Instead, a range of customised interventions are required. 13
The best way to achieve better mental health results is through training in that area. Training has frequently concentrated on enhancing mental health literacy, which has been characterised as the “knowledge and ideas about mental diseases which enhance their recognition, management, or prevention” (14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, and 22). 23 Poor mental health outcomes are linked to low levels of mental health literacy. 14 , 15 , 16 , 17 , 18 , 19 , 20 , 21 , 22 , 24 , 25 Training aimed at enhancing people’s capacity to identify mental illness and seek out mental health information, as well as training aimed at enhancing people’s knowledge of risk and protective factors, self-treatment, and professional services, have all improved mental health outcomes. 16 , 17 , 18 , 19 , 20 , 21 , 22 Training in mental health can boost participants’ willingness to lend a hand to others, increase the likelihood that they will recommend professional services and resources to others, increase their adherence to medical professionals’ treatment recommendations, and lessen the stigma surrounding mental health. 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and enhance the individuals’ own mental health. 26 , 27 , 28 hence improving people’s understanding of mental health and their capacity to receive and offer support. Additionally, it has been recommended that one efficient strategy to enhance rural mental health is to teach important stakeholders who already have connections and networks in rural communities. 29