Regional universities band together to establish mental health institute
In a bid to address significant regional, rural and remote (RRR) mental health challenges, the University of New England (UNE), in collaboration with other regional universities, will establish the Regional Australia Mental Health Research and Training Institute (RAMHeaRT).
Under the new Regional Research Collaboration (RRC) fund, the new Institute in Armidale has been allocated $3.66 million by the Commonwealth government.
The RRC Program is being implemented in response to the National Regional, Rural and Remote Tertiary Education Strategy and is part of the Government’s mission to strengthen the regional and remote tertiary education sector.
UNE Professor of Social Work Myfanwy Maple said the program will provide opportunities to the best minds in mental health and keep vital investment in the regions.
“Ultimately the expected outcome of this powerful regional University collaboration is increased research capacity focused on solutions to the complex socio-environmental mental health challenges for rural, regional and remote Australia,” Professor Maple said.
“Regional Australians experience higher levels of disadvantage and poorer mental health than their metro counterparts due to a variety of factors such as lower income, poor access to healthcare and other vital services.
Under the Regional University Network (RUN), a variet of universities are all embedded within their RRR and share a common goal of managing complex mental heath issues.
UNE Vice Chancellor and CEO Professor Brigid Heywood said that the consortium is demonstrating the value of regional universities in solving regional problems.
“Each RUN partner in this new Institute model brings their own unique expertise and experience to the table. Regional Universities cover a significant geographic footprint and are best placed to develop community driven solutions to very complex social problems.
“Regional Australia has faced significant challenges over the past three years with drought, bushfires and now the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. There is a lot of vulnerability but also a lot of resilience.
Project partners are the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social and Emotional Well-being, Mental Health, and Suicide Leadership Body, Everymind, Lifeline Direct; the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health and the ANU Centre for Mental Health Research.
Regional University Partners are Charles Sturt University, Central Queensland University, Federation University, Southern Cross University, University of Southern Queensland, University of Sunshine Coast.