People ask me where they can get mental health help… here are some tips.

Finding mental help – not easy – here are some tips:

 People often ask me “where can I find some help for my son or daughter for a mental health problem?” Recently I was asked for some information about helping a rural young person with self harm problems… There is no easy answer… there is no ‘one size fits all’ option for rural people – but here are some links, phone numbers and tips that might be useful:

http://au.reachout.com/Wellbeing/School-Uni-and-Study

http://au.reachout.com/Tough-Times/Somethings-not-right/Self-harm

http://au.reachout.com/What-is-self-harm

 http://www.youthbeyondblue.com/understand-what’s-going-on/self-harm-and-self-injury

 http://www.headspace.org.au/is-it-just-me/find-information/self-harm

 http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/public/gettinghelp/helpfullinks.cfm

The common advice is to go to the GP, try this too. But, don’t be alarmed if the GP doesn’t know how to fix the problem… hopefully she or he will be able to point you in the right direction to seeking other appropriate help. Sometimes the GP doesn’t feel equipped to know what to do either but she or he should be able to help you to  look for other resources.

Look for private mental health clinicians (eg nurse, psychologist, social worker, etc)- they are more likely to be able to often some focussed mental health help. Ask them about their qualifications and experience before embarking on treatment, especially for a child or young person. Try and select a clinicians who can build a strong rapport with young people – the trust that will build will be important in helping the young person to recover.

Ask your local state-based public health service to supply you with a list of options for your region… and ask them how to make an appointment. You could go to the reception desk of any community health or community mental health service to obtain this type of information.

Frequently the access to State health mental health services for young people is by phoning an ‘intake’ helpline. In NSW this phone number is 1800 011 511 or see this website for NSW contacts . However if you have an emergency situation then the Accident and Emergency department of your nearest hospital is the best option, and if it is a life threatening situation, then phone 000 for emergency services (police, ambulance or fire).

Health Direct is a 24 hour a day service – you can talk to a Registered Nurse day or night who will be able to help as well. Speak to a Registered Nurse by phoning this number: 1800 022 222. They also have a good list of links to mental health resources on their website...

Suicide Call Back Service is another useful 24 hour service. Phone 1300 659 467 to speak with a counsellor – day or night.

if you are lucky – you might have a headspace service in your town – there are 67 operating throughout Australia.

Never be afraid to ask RUOK? If you need some help with prompts for conversations about mental health or about asking if someone has been thinking about dying lately… or if they are thinking about doing something to end their life, then click of the RUOK to find out how to start those types of conversations and to find ways to help if someone is struggling.

And- don’t give up…. keep asking and keep seeking help until you find the mental health help you need for your child/ young person. It may not be an easy road – but if you can find one helpful person, then you might just start the ball rolling in the right direction and help might gather momentum.

This is not an exhaustive list of all that might be available – but it is a starting point… I hope it helps some people find the resources they  are loojkng for…

Pain nurses: Alternatives to cannabis

Rhonda Wilson MHN:

Live radio conversation this morning – more on #cannabis # pain topic here…

Originally posted on Rhonda Wilson MHN:

What would I know? An informed perspective.

I began nursing in 1987. Since then I have looked after many, many people with chronic pain, cancer, drug/substance use problems (including cannabis), and mental health problems – all in rural and regional settings in Australia. I have studied nursing a lot (to Doctoral level – currently under examination) & I have practiced nursing a lot. I have published about cannabis misuse too (Wilson, 2014). I have gained a significant experience over the years, and I continue to learn about how to care for people more effectively so that they can enjoy a positive quality of life, health and well-being at whatever stage of life they are at (including the dying stage).

I know about pain from personal and carer perspectives too. I have nursed my own mother with terminal cancer. I have the personal experience of being close to friends who have…

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Dallas asked me about nurse bloggers…

Nurse bloggers… hadn’t thought of myself like that – but I guess I am!

I had an email from a journalist – Dallas who asked: “I’m writing a feature on nurse bloggers. I was wondering if you would be able to answer the following questions for me:” I thought the best way for a nurse blogger to respond – was…to…blog! So here I go… (challenging the frontiers of journalism and nursing… at the same time I guess!)

• What led you to start up a blog?

I started my blog http://rhondawilsonmhn.com/ Rhonda Wilson MHN: Rural mental health nurse, just before the last federal election. I had previously established a professional digital profile across a number of other social media platforms (eg Twitter, facebook https://www.facebook.com/ruralMHnurse, LinkedIn, ResearchGate) and I had watched a number of other nurse bloggers from around the world for sometime too. What I noticed was that a blog provided an opportunity to contribute to a nursing conversation, and to participate in and initiate conversations about nursing/health broadly, but rural mental health nursing specifically. At that time I was particularly focussed on contributing to a rural perspective on the delivery of mental health care to rural people, and I wanted to ensure that I had done what I could to advocate for a fair representation for rural people to have good quality mental health care when it was needed; especially, for young rural people. I think it is an important professional responsibility for nurses to advocate for the health of people in their community – for me that is advocating for rural mental health care. The blog gave me a new way to advocate. Since then it has developed further to bring together conversations about rural mental health on a wider range of topics.

What do you post on your blog and why do you choose to discuss these types of things?

I try to blog about real life situations because that brings an authenticity to a conversation. I use to think that rural nursing was not very important –and nurses in big metro hospitals must be better than rural nurses… because everything we do seems to be on a small scale in the bush, and we don’t have as many resources to draw from. That belief affected my confidence to some extent, and it has taken a lot of study and practice to come to the realisation that rural nurses are very often the backbone of health care delivery in rural communities – that nurses are a critical social and health capital in rural communities. We are often not seen in upfront roles, and we are sometimes not valued for the important contributions that we make… but rural nurses are the glue that holds health together in rural communities. We are very often specialist generalists. We can cover all bases and do it well… I have only ever worked in rural and regional communities and if you need advanced life support – I can do that, if you need a scrub nurse for an emergency caesarean – I can do that. If you need triage in emergency – I can do that. If you need a paediatric nurse – I can do that. If you need a palliative care nurse – I can do that. If you need someone to home visit and do a dressing on a leg ulcer – I can do that. If you need a drug and alcohol health promotion at the local high school – I can do that. And, if you have a young person with a escalating psychosis – I can sort that too! Rural nurses have skills sets that are eclectic and valuable – different to urban nurses – but critically important in their rural communities. I thought it was about time that rural nurses started to speak up – a blog helps me to do that and to tell the stories of rural mental health nursing in a down to earth way.

Does it bring about any benefits for you personally or professionally?

I think broadening your network and respectfully listening/ reading and talking/ contributing to conversation about rural mental health brings both professional and personal benefit – but not in any tangible sense. Blogging helps me to reflect on my practice as a rural nurse and when other engage with my blogs (and other social media), then that has certainly been useful. The feedback from others has helped me to continue to develop as a professional nurse, and it is that conversation and dialogue with other nurses and health workers that is particularly valuable. Twitter (micro blogging) has brought some professional interactions and introductions that have been especially useful – networking at conferences, or with colleagues internationally has been great. I have one research project team that developed purely through Twitter interactions… the possibilities are endless. I have published a bit about nurses and social media too – I think it is an area of health progress and I wanted to bring some evidence to support new practices – so I have began to work in e-mental health areas – a new health frontier. I don’t know what opportunities might arise in the future – but I am a keen e-pioneer I guess!

Would you suggest other nurses create their own blog? What opportunities can doing so open up?

Yes – I think nursing has incredible potential to influence health and well being of people everywhere using social media and blogs. My advice – start out my lurking (respectfully) for a while – checking out what other nurses are doing in the field. Then, figure out where your own niche is… what do you have to contribute to the disciple? Set up a professional digital footprint… If you want to know how – check this out https://www.researchgate.net/publication/257458308_Nurses_and_Twitter._The_good_the_bad_and_the_reluctant

This paper is a guide to help people figure out how to use social media in health disciplines and it makes some suggestions about how and why it is useful. A stong – ‘get on board’ message to nurses everywhere.

Is this something that you see becoming more common among nurses?

I hope it becomes more common! I think that nurses contribution to e-health generally has a great deal of scope to do a great deal of good, in every corner of the world. Nurses should be prominent in the cyber community – because that is where people are increasingly hanging out – we nurses should go to the people with messages of health and well-being – it is the very heart of what we do! Never too old – if you don’t have a profile somewhere get one!

Please feel free to add any extra comment

Nurses who have been in the discipline for many years are sometimes reluctant to engage with social media. They are sometimes daunted by the unstoppable force of the internet. There has been a lot of bad press about the bad things that happen in cyberspace – (eg bullying, trolls etc). But, setting up a professional digital profile is much safer. What it takes is using common sense – behave in the cyber world professionally, and you will attract professional networks and conversations. Don’t engage with people who behave badly and with trolls and they won’t bother you. Other professionals will engage with you based on how relevant your posts are to them – play nice! If you don’t – no one will play with you. Be mindful of your code of conduct and stay within the flags!

I hope those responses to Dallas’ questions are of interest to others too! Good questions – thanks for asking! Cheers!

Hope therapy – 66 years worth!

I visited my local secondhand bookshop yesterday… A treat on a Saturday morning. I came across a 1948 publication “The therapy of the neuroses and psychoses” Samuel Henry Kraines MD. 642 pages of history!

I couldn’t help but purchase this book, having just submitted my PhD about young rural people and their experiences of emerging mental health problems… of which psychosis is but one… I have just come up with a stack of new ideas and knowledge about the topic and I thought it might even be interesting to glimpse back into the past to see how far (or not) we have come.

Hope it seems is a timeless central element of recovery for helping people with mental health problems… important then and now – a pleasing finding!!!

No doubt it will be a eye opener to peruse this book – page three has me intrigued already!

“Polysyllabic diagnoses and mysterious terminology temporarily intrigue many persons but of course offer no cures. … probably the most important element in therapy …is the sustaining, driving, curative therapy of hope which the sympathetic and understanding physician (I say nurse!) can give.” (Page 3).

Some things are timeless! Here’s to more hope !
And… Who doesn’t love big long unpronounceable words to describe our ills! Surely the longer the word the better the sympathy !

Buy-a-Bale: Practical support for farming people when it is needed.

Originally posted on Rhonda Wilson MHN:

Charity week at Robb College, UNE this week beginning 30 June 2014: Young people serving the community

This post is a shout out for a residential university college I am affiliated with -Robb College, University of New England, Armidale.  If you are on campus at UNE or in Armidale, NSW this week and some in brown overalls asks you to donate – DO! It is for a great cause.

photo credit: http://www.buyabale.com.au/hay-distributions

Almost 200 young people live at Robb College each year while they study at UNE. I am privileged to get to know many of them – cheering them on as they work their way towards professional futures. It is a lot of fun… each year I am amazed at the caliber of the young people I meet at Robb. Sometimes older people are quick to dismiss young people, blaming them for societal ills… But, each year the…

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