During a private trip to Central Queensland in August I visited the Longreach office of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and met Michael Arthur Team Leader and Liz Lynch Health Promotion Officer who both took time to tell me about the Social, Emotional and Wellbeing Programme delivered from the Longreach RFDS Office.
Longreach is host to the Stockmans Hall of Fame and the Qantas Founders Museum but is in the grip of a 3 year drought which has affected 80% of Queensland and wrought misery to those living in this vast area.
For the past 11 years the RFDS has offered this broad community based programme supplied by a team which includes 2 clinical psychologists and 2 social workers. No referral is necessary to access the programme which provides an opportunity to discuss mental health issues that affect wellbeing including anxiety, abuse, depression, stress management and relationship issues. The mental health professionals offer counselling and support and a link to appropriate community support groups.
Community engagement is key and projects such as the Channel Country Ladies Day offers combined social and health activities which strengthens the social links and publicises the work this RFDS team provides. The Field Day in 2014 was in Betoota in south west Queensland and was held over a weekend where women travelled from as far away as South Australia and New South Wales. A mixture of activities including a cocktail party, art workshops and special guest speakers help the women from some of the most isolated workplaces in the country network and unwind. There is a serious aspect to the fun with womens health screening and wellbeing awareness presentations which help inform about some of the danger signs of stress and mental health.
Royal Flying Doctor Service – Friends in the UK