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Drought related stress resources - for helping your patients

October 19, 2018

Currently, much of rural and regional Queensland is experiencing widespread drought conditions, meaning farmers and their families may be experiencing significant levels of stress impacting on their mental health.

Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN has developed this list of resources to assist you to inform your patients of additional support that is available to them during this time. 

Community Drought Support

The Queensland Government and Australian Government offer programs to help farm families, farm businesses and farm communities affected by drought.

  • Drought Relief Assistance Scheme
  • Financial Counselling Services
  • Community and Family Counselling Services
  • Primary Mental Health Support through the Drought Wellbeing Service
  • Other Drought Rebates and Fee Relief

For comprehensive information about these services, and other available services, please visit:

Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN funded services

Primary Mental Health Care

Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN has commissioned services in the region to provide Primary Mental Health Care within the stepped care approach. These funded services fall within the below levels of intervention:

  • Low Intensity – including beyondblue’s NewAccess Program which provides individuals with access to a specially trained mental health coach for six weeks (can be accessed face to face, over the phone and online).
  • Targeted Psychological Therapies – provides psychological therapies to individuals who otherwise may not be able to access services.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social and Emotional Mental Health Support – culturally appropriate psychological therapies for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • Mental Health Nurse Care Program – provides ongoing clinical care coordination provided by a Mental Health Nurse for people with a diagnosed mental illness that is ongoing, and significantly impacts their social, personal and work life.
  • Health Service Navigators – to assist GPs, providers and patients and their families navigate the services available in our region.

For more information about the providers of the above services, eligibility and referral pathways, please see our Interactive Services Map:

Alcohol and Other Drugs Services

Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN fund providers across the region to deliver Alcohol and Other Drugs services as per the below:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Support – provides culturally appropriate non-residential alcohol and other drugs counselling, withdrawal management, advice and assessment.
  • Mainstream – alcohol and other drugs counsellors provide non-residential rehabilitation services including case management, counselling, group therapy, relapse prevention, support group sessions and referral pathways.
  • Residential Rehabilitation – provides alcohol and other drugs residential rehabilitation services, based in Toowoomba for young people including men and women.

For more information about the providers of the above services, eligibility and referral pathways, please see our Interactive Services Map:

Additional Telephone support services

Virtual Psychologist In conjunction with Aussie Helpers, Virtual Psychologist offers free 24 hours psychological counselling services to drought affected farmers via SMS, online chat, email and phone. Where applicable, face to face services on farming properties may be provided. 

People can self-refer by: 

SMS: 0488 807 266  
Phone: 1300 665 234
Online Chat:

Alcohol Drug Information Service (ADIS) ADIS is a free, confidential and anonymous information, counselling, advise and referral service that is available 24/7. 

People can access this service by: 

Phone: 1800 422 599

beyondblue Support Services beyondblue Support Services offers 24/7 confidential telephone support, counselling and referrals to trained mental health professionals. 

People can access this services by: 

Phone: 1300 224 636

Lifeline Lifeline offers a 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention service which includes toolkits, information sheets and a lifeline service finder. 

People can access the crisis phone support by: 

Phone: 13 11 14

Suicide Call Back Service The Suicide Call Back Service providers crisis counselling to people at risk of suicide, carers for someone who is suicidal and those bereaved by suicide. 

People can access this service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by: 

Phone: 1300 659 467

headspace headspace provides young people aged 12 to 25 years and their families support to chat, email, or talk with a qualified mental health professional. 

People can access this by: 

Email and Web Chat: 

Phone: 1800 650 890

MBS Telehealth Services

Rural GPs will be able to access Medicare Rebates for mental health phone consults for the first time, to ease distress in drought-hit farming communities. Previous MBS rules, only allowed Medicare Rebates for face-to-face GP consultations. This change means that people living in rural location will now be able to access this support by phone or through Skype.

The Rural Doctors Association Australia (RDAA) are working closely with the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM), the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and the Department of Health to finalise the parameters that will determine the eligibility of rural and remote GPs to gain access to this telehealth Medicare item number.

For more information, please visit:

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