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Central West Queensland since 1923
Central West Queensland

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16 September, 2021

Rural people benefit from mental health service

A new mental health service aimed at helping people in the west is now available.

By Michael R Williams

Clinician Meredith Stone in the White Cloud office talking with a client online. PHOTOS: Supplied.

 A NEW, free service with a holistic approach to mental health has been made available and the company’s founders said, “it’s the bush that will benefit most”.  

The White Cloud Foundation is behind the new service named STRATUS Tele-Mental Healthcare Service — a service that aims to create early access to practical solutions for people living with or at risk of developing anxiety and/ or depression.  

STRATUS is a phone and internet-based service that provides same-day professional mental health services to all Queenslanders.  

White Cloud Foundation Founder and Chairman, Professor Adam Scott said access to healthcare regardless of whether you live in a rural, remote, or metropolitan area was challenging. 

“The allied health disciplines, where traditionally people are sent by their GP referral have a six-month waiting list — in a city,” he said.  

“So, we know in Western Queensland, accessing that level of care is even harder.  

“What we wanted to do, was to be able to provide same-day access to health care in your local location when you need it — with the appropriate clinical team.” 

In 2016, Prof Scott created a Tele-Cardiac Investigations Program in Longreach. 

Prof Scott said his work had transformed the way people access health care in relation to cardiac investigations and plans to do the same with mental health.  

“Now, people in 22 rural and remote facilities in Queensland can access cardiac investigations — same day with same-day recording,” he said.  

“So, we in the White Cloud Foundation have been developing our value-based healthcare integrated practice unit. 

"Which is all about integrating psychology, counselling, social work, mental health nursing, 
dietetics, exercise physiology, wellness coaching, providing a holistic approach to how care is delivered.” 

Prof Scott said the holistic approach of White Cloud allowed them to “wrap around the individual” and “give the individual what they need when they need it”.   

“What we find was: a lot of people don’t want to go straight to psychological services, but they’re willing to start with some exercise, rehabilitating some old injuries, working on their diet, getting better sleep, and stabilising themselves,” he said.  

“So that then they’re much more mentally/ physically fitter and resilient to then enter into psychological treatment.  

“And the outcomes are much better and much faster by giving them that baseline.” 

Prof Scott said STRATUS was about supplementing existing services not replacing them.  

“We work with GPs, who are the backbone to western health, and we wanted to recognise and compliment their work,” he said.  

“But some people don’t always want to see a doctor, they don’t want to be diagnosed, they just need some strategies and support. 

“We’re here to help break down that stigma.” 

Prof Scott said it wasn’t just a program for those who are suffering, but also something that could be accessed by those who are worried about a close connection.  

“This is especially important to those who live in rural areas so that those people don’t have to travel to the metropolitan location to get access to those specialty services,” he said. 

“They can be in their home and make that call. 

“They can get direct access, in their home, in their time of need.” 

To access the service call 07 3155 3456.   

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