Primary mental health – a rural student placement model
Within the Three Rivers Department of Rural Health (TRDRH) footprint, access to community based rural mental health placements is limited and typically offered as traditional clinical placements situated in higher acuity settings.
This creates limited exposure and the types of interprofessional learning experiences that students have available to them within mental health and wellness. Within the TRDRH footprint, we are seeing higher reported levels of psychological distress and reduced access to mental health services and general poorer health outcomes.
In partnership with an established regional primary mental health service, a student placement model has been designed to provide undergraduate paramedicine, nursing, and social work students with an ongoing service-learning placement. A key component of the placement is the delivery of a student led program whereby consumers are provided with an opportunity to strengthen their digital health literacy skills. Student also take part in essential components of the service activity supported by a dedicated student educator. This pilot placement model aims to deliver a high-quality experience that provides students with essential practice mental health practice skills that are necessary upon graduation.
The project has taken a participatory evaluation approach to measure the impact of the student placement model on community and the host organisation. This paper will reveal the essential components for success, lessons learnt which is driving ongoing development of this project and outline the transferability to a wide range of practice settings.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2023


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