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Firstly, to acknowledge of your concern about the significant lack of and barriers in accessing help within rural and remote settings, this was the subject of a 2018 Senate Inquiry on Accessibility and Quality of MH services in rural and remote Australia. (See the Senate report link below). This report also highlighted the rural and remote workers threshold and detailed particular personal and professional factors affecting practitioners e.g. challenges and distresses of undertaking their job. These factors are widely regarded as largely shared by all community service professionals regardless of sector. A recent UNICEF Australia report has received media coverage drawing attention to the additional impact of community wide disasters and adverse events on the children and young people of rural families. https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Community_Affairs/MentalHealthServices/Report https://www.unicef.org.au/our-work/unicef-in-australia/the-drought-report https://www.unicef.org.au/blog/news-and-insights/february-2019/no-rest-for-children-of-farming-families To respond to your question, given the pervasiveness and intergenerational origins of many of the adverse circumstances in rural and remote Australia, I would want to ask the question of whether you as a professional have access to support, professional development and ongoing consultation to sustain yourself and your effectiveness? As a member of a rural community yourself, the concept of ‘shared space’ may be very much in play. As I am unsure of your organisation or sector my suggestions focus on online telephone access, health and early childhood settings. For practitioners • CRANAplus (https://crana.org.au/) is a professional body providing both education and professional development activities and a Bush Support Service Counselling which a is free and confidential telephone counselling/consultation service for indigenous and non-indigenous rural and remote area health professionals and their families. The team includes two Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander counsellors. People who are not health practitioners but still interested in the organisations objectives can become Associate Members and receive full benefits (apart from voting and board membership). i.e. rural and remote workers in other community sectors can join. • Emerging Minds Relevant Resources and eLearning courses: Webinar Four – Supporting the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal children through a community approach (April 2019) https://emergingminds.com.au/resources/kids-rural-remote-areas-coping-tough-times/ https://emergingminds.com.au/training/online-training/ https://emergingminds.com.au/resources/toolkits/community-trauma-toolkit/ https://emergingminds.com.au/resources/library/?s=trauma • This year Early Childhood Australia is launching a collection of online communities of practice through the ECA learning hub. These will be online learning communities where members will have the opportunity to learn with and from each other by exploring new ideas, sharing resources and lived experiences. http://learninghub.earlychildhoodaustralia.org.au/communities-of-practice/ For parents and families • Telephone an online counselling services, including for drug and alcohol related issues http://www.nt.relationships.org.au/www.relationships.com.au/what-we-do/services/rural-and-remote-telephone-counselling https://www.counsellingonline.org.au/ • Resources https://emergingminds.com.au/resources/library/?s=trauma&audience%5B%5D=children-5-to-11-years&audience%5B%5D=extended-family-members-and-carers Your own service and practice • Early childhood settings are safe spaces – foster that advantage. • Explore and encourage connection with people that parents already trust within their support network • Having copies of rural and remote relevant parent awareness raising and tip sheets displayed in your setting may create the opportunity for conversations with parents. o https://emergingminds.com.au/resources/library/?s=trauma&audience%5B%5D=children-5-to-11-years&audience%5B%5D=extended-family-members-and-carers o https://emergingminds.com.au/resources/communicating-with-your-toddler-during-adversity-or-tough-times/ • Advocate for your organisation to invite local discussion about how the community could establish interdisciplinary/culturally appropriate/sector wrap-around support for families
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