Improving the mental health of drought-affected communities: an Australian model

Anne Tonna, Brian Kelly, Judith Crockett, Richard Buss, Russell Roberts, Murray Wright, Julie Greig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
299 Downloads (Pure)


In recent years there has been increasing recognition of the social impact of drought on rural communities. This paper provides an overview of a major mental health program developed in response to persistent severe drought and longer term social and economic restructuring in New South Wales agriculture. Led by government and incorporating close collaboration with rural community agencies and services, the program's design and implementation was informed by existing evidence regarding mental health promotion, illness prevention, early intervention models, disaster management and a series of core project principles and goals based on community development practice. Improvements in mental health literacy and service collaboration and coordination suggest lessons learnt from the program will have applicability to future projects that aim to address mental health needs and promote the capacity of rural communities to adapt to the continuing impacts of future droughts and longer term climate change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-305
Number of pages10
JournalRural Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009


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