The University of Newcastle, Australia

Rural Mental Health podcast creates positive waves

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

A podcast series designed to encourage rural communities talk about mental health has been recognised for its impact.

Let's Talk Rural Mental Health

The Let’s Talk Rural Mental Health podcast series is an initiative of the University’s Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health (CRRMH) and its major program the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP), together with journalist and producer Kia Handley.

The podcast series has won the 2018 The Mental Health Service (TheMHS) Media Award in the ‘Special Journalism Award-Regional/Rural/Community’ category.

The award win coincides with the launch of a second podcast series.

Manager of the RAMHP Program, Tessa Caton, said rural communities continued to face significant, everyday challenges and it was important to acknowledge these challenges and provide support, information and hope.

“We were delighted that the first podcast series was recognised in TheMHS Media Awards just in time for the launch of our second series,” Ms Caton said.

“Feedback from our listeners has been positive and encouraging with more than 2,200 listens.

“Listeners have found the podcasts to be a valuable and helpful resource helping to destigmatise mental health issues, promote good mental health and encourage people to strike up a conversation about mental health with colleagues, friends and family.

“The podcasts also help to normalise people’s experiences living with a mental health issue in rural areas and provide hope and information about where to get help,” she said.

The topics in series two are equally diverse and relevant with the first one focusing on coping during a drought.

“We felt this was an effective way of providing support and information for drought-affected rural communities during this challenging time,” Ms Caton said.

Producer of the podcasts, journalist Kia Handley said the second season of Let’s Talk was an excellent way to continue the conversation around mental health in regional Australia.

“It feels like there is a real shift of momentum happening right now when it comes to mental health. Since the first season of the podcast, I hear people talking openly about mental health with their family, in workplaces, with friends at the pub, on social media and at community events

“They’re creating safe spaces by breaking down stigma and being open about the challenges that face us all living and working in regional NSW.

“But there’s always more that can be done and by sharing some positive stories, some solutions and information about the incredible programs being run in regional Australia, we can open up conversation and education to more people and reinforce positive attitudes around mental health,” Ms Handley said.

Series two podcast topics include drought, rural LGBTI mental health, loneliness, men’s mental health, Indigenous social and emotional well-being, and mental health champions.

A new episode will be broadcast each week on ABC’s Statewide Drive program, via a podcast app and will also be available on the CRRMH website.

“We encourage people to listen to these podcasts and share this important resource,” Ms Caton said.

If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 000 or go to your nearest hospital emergency department. If you’re concerned about your own or someone else’s mental health, you can call the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Listen or subscribe to the podcast on i-tunes, or access the show notes.


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