Megan Gomez | Rockhampton, QLD | www.ruralhealthconnect.com.au
“Rural Health Connect is a website and app that links people in rural Australia to psychologists via video conferencing technology. Many rural Australians deal with stressful situations like drought, floods, isolation and fluctuating prices on a daily basis yet it can be extremely difficult if not impossible to access mental health services. This can cause people to lose hope, at times with devastating outcomes. Our site allows people to conduct sessions with psychologists from the privacy of their own home with no travel or wait time and no stigma.”
Forty-five per cent of all Australians experience a mental illness at some point in their lives. Rural Australians deal with great life pressures, yet it is often extremely difficult or impossible to access mental health professionals. A shortage of psychologists, long waiting lists, long drives to appointment and lack of privacy in small towns cause poor access to crucial services, at times with tragic outcomes. The idea of Megan Gomez, Rural Health Connect, aims to provide a solution to this serious problem.
The concept is a website and app, which uses video-conferencing technology similar to Skype, to connect rural Australians to psychologists. The use of technology means they can log on from the back paddock; in their lunch hour; while the baby is asleep; or anywhere else, and instantly connect to an expert anywhere in Australia. The professionals can work from home, wherever they live, at hours that suit them.
Megan’s Lightbulb Moment has the potential to address the discrepancy that exists in mental health service availability in city versus country areas. This idea bridges that divide, benefitting regional Australia as a whole.