At a time of ever increasing mental health problems in Australian society, the nursing profession is beset by problems of an insufficient workforce specialising in this area. Not only is there a shortage of suitable trained specialist mental health nurses, but undergraduate nursing programs inadequately prepare students for practical mental health nursing. Fewer students are enrolling in mental health nursing, and many nurses are leaving the workforce. A particular problem in rural Australia is that there is a lack of specialist mental health services, and nurses are being increasingly relied upon to perform the role of mental health nurse despite lacking the necessary qualifications and experience. This paper aims to describe the development, implementation and evaluation of a mental health continuing education program for nurses employed in rural and remote areas of New South Wales (NSW), Australia. This was a collaborative educational initiative mounted by the NSW Health Department (who funded the project), a rural university and a number of regional health service partners. The paper includes information on how this program was conceived, developed and conducted through distance education mode. It also evaluates the efficacy of this program as perceived by 202 out of 303 participants. Overall the project was rated very favourably, and represents a cost-effective, convenient method of enabling rural and regional nurses to update and improve their skills in mental health nursing.