Dr. Alison Kennedy - Where is Mental Health at in Rural Australia

Jul 27, 2023

In this episode of This Rural Life, I interview Dr Alison Kennedy from The National Centre for Farmer Health and we discuss the current state of mental health in Rural Australia:

1. We discuss Alison’s career and her motivation for completing her PHD in the mental health and suicide prevention space .

2. Alison highlights the importance of prevention in the wellbeing space and says this is a focus for the National Centre for Farmer Health.

3. Alison highlights the many challenges we face in Rural communities that make it extra difficult and thus the need for prevention even more.

4. We discuss the big challenge of understanding the causes of suicide and the contributing factors and the research around this.

Alison is a Behavioural Scientist who has lived and worked in Victoria’s rural farming community for almost 2 decades. Her expertise in rural/farmer mental health and suicide prevention has drawn on a range of innovative techniques including digital interventions, digital storytelling, community education programs and peer support models.

Alison has led numerous farmer mental health projects and continues to build the Centre’s capacity and reach by working collaboratively with researchers, farmers and industry stakeholders across Australia and internationally. Her expertise has been recognised through research awards, numerous advisory roles, peer review publications, international research consultation, invited presentations and expert witness testimony before the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

Alison is passionate about co-designing the Centre’s research, education and services in collaboration with the community and industry—to ensure the Centre’s work continues to be effective, relevant and tailored to the needs of rural farming communities.

We also chat about the fact that there are a lot of wonderful things happening in Rural communities and it’s the connection and the community that are so important and to remembering to be connected is crucial.