The Royal Flying Doctor Service is vital in bridging the gap in providing mental health programs to regional areas.
PROGRAMS & PROJECTS.
The primary beneficiary of RideWest is the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) Queensland Section. The funds that are raised are donated to the RFDS to contribute towards bridging the gap for mental health services in regional areas.
In early 2017 the Royal Flying Doctor Service released a research paper entitled “Mental Health in Rural and Remote Communities”. This research reveals remote Australians die on average from suicide at twice the rate of city people, yet are only able to access mental health services at a fifth of the rate of city people. It also identifies farmers as among the most at risk of suicide.
Wellbeing Out West (WOW) was established by the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section) in 2018 using funds generously contributed by the RideWest.
WOW provides free mental health education, one-on-one counselling and support to people living and working in remote and rural parts of Queensland, with a focus on the North West, Central West and South West.
The service targets anyone experiencing tough times because of worsening rural adversity out west. Mental Health Clinicians travel to their clients and often deliver services at community based mental health workshops, pit-stop health checks, or via training for remote station managers and staff.
"Wellbeing Out West was a program that we developed and the seed funding was actually delivered by RideWest. It allowed us to say we think this is going to work, we’d love to try it and the RideWest funds raised from the 2018 ride allowed us to say now we are going to roll out Wellbeing Out West.
So we set it up and it’s about covering people’s health from the tip of their head to their toes, so it includes mental health as well as physical. It also allows that whole destigmatisation of it being mental health. And RideWest can always stand tall for the fact that it was part of that seed capital that delivers that program that is now continuously growing and being further developed."
Board Chair, Royal Flying Doctors Service (Queensland Section)
The WOW program delivers the following services to remote and rural Australians.
Train front line and local staff in mental health first aid, and suicide prevention
Respond to and provide mental health education and support following traumatic events
Run mini field day programs in rural and remote areas. These programs provide the opportunity to connect with RFDS mental health clinicians, learn more about looking after emotional health and wellbeing and brush up on first aid skills
Manage requests for assistance from remote stations
Provide clinicians to speak at various community events, aiming to increase understanding of mental health conditions