The University of Canberra is starting the engine on its Mobile Health Hub with the first stop – Condobolin, in central west NSW.
UC’s Arts & Design and Health faculties are joining forces to provide much needed support for drought-affected rural communities in a pilot of the Creative Arts and Rural Health Initiative.
Project Manager Ian Drayton said lots of tangible drought help had been provided to regional communities, but people’s mental health needed more attention.
Senior Psychology Lecturer Dr Dean Buckmaster said he couldn’t agree more.
“The bottom line is that for many rural families, there will be no harvest because of the drought, and therefore little to no income. This then ripples outwards, to affect the whole community.”
Dr Buckmaster and other clinical psychologists from the Faculty of Health will be providing free mental health services to the community, and conducting a needs analysis across Condobolin to help plan long-term mental health support programs.
Alongside the mental health services the UC Faculty of Arts & Design will be running creative writing and visual arts workshops.
“The project is aimed at building community engagement and will see a mix of pre-planned and responsive workshops, both indoors and outdoors,” Associate Professor of Arts and Communication Jordan William said.
The big white and blue mobile clinic will serve as a nerve centre for many of the week-long program activities, which will run from 19 to 23 November.
The University of Canberra’s Creative Arts and Rural Health Initiative has been made possible, in part, by monies raised from the Channel 9, National Farmers’ Federation and Rotary Australia 2018 Drought Relief Appeal